CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cuyahoga Community College was rolling with the punches at the beginning of the pandemic.
“We were about 15% online in the spring of 2020, and in about 10 days, we moved to being about 98% online,” said Provost Karen Miller. “We were giving out computers and hot spots. It took them some time to kind of get up to speed during that transition”
But as their technology capabilities grew, their enrollment numbers took a hit, something they didn’t see coming.
″Usually, when the economy kind of takes a turn down, community college enrollment goes up,” said Miller. “When people are unemployed, they have an opportunity to come and retrain and go back to school.”
Instead, people dropped their classes, either going back to work full time to make ends meet or staying home to take care of their kids.
Now, Tri-C is tackling this issue head on.
“It’s what we call our ‘Jobs First Agenda.’ Normally, we think about trying to connect students with job opportunities at the end,” said Miller. “And what we’re focusing on is helping provide assistance upfront for those students who can’t come to school unless they secure some employment.”
With the help of the CARES Act and other resources, community college students are getting their tuition at a discounted rate, and some of them could potentially be going for free.
“Life gets in the way. They drop out a semester and they come back, and our job is to provide them that continuous support,” said Miller.
Tri-C plans to kick off its Jobs First Agenda in the fall.