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Two major issues in contemporary higher education include equality of access to education and the adequate preparation of graduates for entry into the workforce. Both of these goals are central to the tech prep/associate degree (TPAD) initiative. TPAD combines competency-based teaching, applied learning, curricula focusing on technical and academic skills, and business and industry support. TPAD programs use a 2+2 design, encompassing the last 2 years of high school and 2 years of occupationally-specific postsecondary education culminating in a 2-year Associate degree. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to expand to a 2+2+2 design, with the additional 2 years spent in an institution of higher education and culminating in a Bachelor's degree. Community colleges can play a significant role in addressing issues of access and preparation for work, but it is essential that they maintain well-developed articulation agreements with secondary schools and other postsecondary institutions. As of 1994, approximately 1,000 community colleges were working with 2,500 school districts nationwide to design or implement tech prep curricula. Moreover, a review of 15 states revealed that 7 had undertaken statewide tech prep programs, with Indiana mandating tech prep in all public schools and both California and Ohio embracing the 2+2+2 concept. Contains 23 references. Appendixes provide a graphic showing TPAD elements, data on faculty job satisfaction, and descriptions of articulation programs. (JDI)

Descriptors: Access to Education, Articulation (Education), Associate Degrees, College Role, Community Colleges, Education Work Relationship, Educational Change, Program Implementation, Role of Education, Tech Prep, Trade and Industrial Education, Two Year Colleges, Vocational Education

Autor: Alexander, Angela J.


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