Government officials, foundations, and researchers are calling on U.S. postsecondary institutions to graduate more students with certificates and degrees, and as the largest single sector of postsecondary education, community colleges are a major focus of this effort. Labor market demand for jobs specifically requiring postsecondary education at the subbaccalaureate level is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 6 of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations between 2004 and 2014 will require a subbaccalaureate credential, the kind that is typically earned at a community college. Tracking the number of associate degrees and certificates community colleges issue each year shows how closely they are meeting this demand.
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