Spotlight on EdCC: Demographics and trends

Danielle Carnes, Executive Director of Strategic Enrollment Management at Edmonds Community College.

Danielle Carnes, Executive Director of Strategic Enrollment Management at Edmonds Community College, recently reported on demographic changes and trends coming to the college.

According to the Environmental Scan report, students want not just access, but success. Edmonds Community College is working to provide that through Pathways that guide students to graduation, and dual enrollment in high school.

With Millenials about to turn 40 years of age, the group called Gen Z is in high school, and they are more career-focused because their Gen X parents struggled with a bumpy economy. These young people are connected and have three screens in front of them at any time, such as phone, television, computer. They are true multi-taskers.

A trend for local community colleges is an increase in maintenance of basic needs in food, housing and mental health. Students are concerned about the value of college and corresponding debt, although community colleges are considered to provide value for the dollar.

Edmonds is considered a friendly college and is looking to meet the workforce needs of top industry employers in Snohomish County, such as Boeing, Providence, Tulalip Tribes, and Premera. Top King County employers include Microsoft, University of Washington, Amazon, Starbucks, Swedish, Costco, and Nordstrom.

Demographics: Over the next ten years, we can expect population growth in Snohomish County, particularly in our communities of color. Community college students are arriving on campus with significant basic needs insecurities, such as stable food and housing.

Educational trends: The public perception of higher education has been chipped in recent years due to rising student debt and underemployment. Community colleges are seen as a vital workforce pipeline and are increasingly focused on student progression with as few barriers or lost time through pathways initiatives and dual enrollment opportunities.

Industry and workforce: Unemployment rates are dropping nationwide and labor markets are currently strong. Leading industries in Snohomish County are aerospace manufacturing, healthcare, food service, retail sales, and pharmaceutical manufacturing. The Puget Sound region has a large demand for STEM related positions and not enough qualified candidates to fill them, namely in IT and Software Engineering. Thirty percent of Snohomish County residents commute outside the county for work.

Technology and city infrastructure: The rapid pace of change in technology ushers is not only new tools and infrastructure, but also paradigm shifts in classroom pedagogy, active learning spaces, and digital integration. Sound Transit will expand light rail access to Lynnwood by 2023. Concurrently, the City of Lynnwood is investing in infrastructure to support new businesses, affordable housing, and a growing number of residents.

Economic and financial trends: State funding for higher education continues to decline as perception of higher education becomes an individual student opportunity versus a public investment. Increasing priority on student progression has shifted SBCTC funding models to include more performance-based funding.

Political landscape: The political landscape continues to shift under current federal administrative decisions that are impacting higher education. Declining support for education is being felt through several grant and program reductions. The state of Washington resolved the McCleary funding deficit without cutting higher education. With rapid political changes unfolding, colleges are watching closely to monitor impact.

Edmonds Community College mission: Teaching l Learning l Community.

To see the full Environmental Scan report and slides, see here. 

To learn about the new SET (Science Engineering and Technology) building coming to Edmonds Community College, see here.

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