Document Type

Conference Presentation

Conference Title

Academy of Human Resource Development Conference Proceedings


the Americas in Knoxville, TN

Conference Dates

February 24-28, 2010

Date of Presentation



Community colleges in the United States have become major providers of human resource development services, particularly through offering workforce development training to local employers. The addition of workforce development services to community colleges is a fairly recent phenomenon. Some see workforce development efforts as diluting community colleges’ historic mission of providing affordable and accessible opportunities for students to transfer to four-year institutions. The addition of online training has created additional stressors, due to increases in costs, opportunities for outsourcing, and increased opportunity for serving those outside of the local community. Using an organizational theory framework, this conceptual article addresses the competing emphases in the community college mission and attempts to understand how various types of institutions overcome internal and external barriers in introducing online workforce development through organizational change initiatives. Keywords: Online Workforce Development, Contract Training, Organizational Change Community colleges are major providers of training services in the U.S. As part of their workforce and economic development mission, they offer non-credit courses in a wide range of topics, such as basic software skills, management development, customer service skills, total quality management, and safety skills. However, they also offer highly specialized training in technical fields such as healthcare, manufacturing, and software development. Although participants often enroll directly in such courses, community colleges commonly enter into contracts to provide direct training for employers and other organizations like labor unions and business groups. In this regard, community colleges are among the largest providers of human resource development (HRD) in the United States. HRD, as a field of practice, is dedicated to learning and development for work and workplaces, whether provided for the good of the individual, a particular employer, a nation, or society in general (Jacobs, 2006; Jacobs & Hawley, 2009; Lynham & Cunninghan, 2006; McLean & McLean, 2001). Such learning and development takes the form of formal training, informal work-related learning, organization development, and performance improvement efforts. This article focuses on online contract 1 training, a type of formal training in which community colleges provide HRD services to employers and work-related groups.


In C. M. Graham (Ed.), published in Conference Proceedings

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