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Community College Initiative (CCI)

The Community College Initiative Program develops workforce-ready individuals from underserved populations to be global citizens.

It equips them with technical proficiency in their field of study, employability skills, and leadership expertise to advance their country’s development and promote mutual understanding between cultures. Selected students spend one year at accredited U.S. community colleges and gain practical experience in academic coursework, professional development, community engagement, and exploration of U.S. culture and society. This multifaceted experience provides students with 21st century skills, which they take home ready to engage with their communities. Through hosting CCI students, participating community colleges strengthen their ability to cultivate global leaders and internationalize their campus.

The Community College Initiative is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

Goals

• Participants display the capacity to meet a key workforce need in their home country

• Participants embody the skills, attitudes, and behaviors of 21st century community leaders and promote mutual understanding

• Community colleges strengthen their ability to cultivate global leaders and internationalize their campus

Background

The Community College Initiative (CCI) is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State. For the past several years, this program has provided quality educational programs, leadership and professional skills development, practical professional experience, community engagement, and opportunity to build mutual understanding and knowledge about American society and culture to underserved, non-elite international students who otherwise may not have an opportunity to study abroad.

Project Activities

Technical Skills Building: CCI students attend a 10-month academic program at U.S. community colleges with the opportunity to earn professional certificates Informational Technology, Business Administration, Agriculture, Media, Applied Engineering, or Early Childhood Education. Throughout the program, students receive tailored support in developing and meeting professional and academic goals and improving their English language and academic skills.

Service Learning: CCI students participate in a year-long service learning program that integrates a community service activity with learning about the history, culture and current issues of the population they are serving. The service learning program at each community college reflects the diversity of their community and the organizations that work with them.

Professional Development: During the first semester, CCI students participate in a monthly Training Series: Workplace Excellence focusing on soft skills, addressing areas that managers identify as barriers to employability, such as time management, self-presentation, teamwork, demonstrating personal motivation, and professionalism in spoken and written English. In the second semester, students complete part-time, unpaid internships, gaining experience in the American workplace and developing relationships with local businesses, government offices, nonprofit organizations, and other institutions.

Country Presentations: Through presentations by CCI students Americans at their college and in their community are exposed to global perspectives.

Global Citizens Passport to America: Through the Passport, students present and reflect on how they have explored various aspects of U.S. culture and the linkages they’ve forged with Americans.

Alumni Programming: CCI alumni are provided with opportunities to continue to develop their workforce skills, contribute meaningfully to their communities, and maintain professional networks developed through the program.

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