Community colleges more globally focused

October 29, 2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Community colleges in the United States have made huge strides since 2008 in cultivating a global workforce, according to a first-of-its-kind study co-led by a Michigan State University researcher.

In 2008, about 51 percent of community colleges offered a basic course in international business. Four years later that number has jumped to 85 percent, said Tomas Hult, director of MSU's International Business Center, who led the study with Lansing Community College professor William Motz.

"The most important takeaway is that we as a nation appear to be putting funds into community college education to infuse a global mindset in a much larger way than in the past few years," Hult said. "International business education is really starting to flourish at two-year schools."

Forty-four percent of college students - about 13 million students - attend about 1,200 community colleges in the United States, so the schools play a pivotal role in educating the 21st-century global workforce, he said.

The study analyzed international business offerings at community colleges in all states (with reliable data from 49 states), using the International Business Education Index. New Mexico ranked No. 1 on the index while Michigan ranked No. 29. Grand Rapids Community College ranked No. 1 in Michigan and also was ranked in the top 20 nationwide.

Designed by Hult and Motz, the IBEX measures the degree to which community colleges emphasize international business education in their curricula and education activities.

"The world is becoming more globalized and integrated, and it is important that we educate students to think logically, be creative and be global citizens," Hult said.

The study also found: Funding for the study came from US Department of Education grants.
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Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

Michigan State University

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