I admit that growing up in an upper-middle class family and attending an Ivy League school, I used to harbor some snobbery versus community colleges. Shame on me, for this tier of higher education is only going to grow in importance: an increasingly knowledge-based economy fundamentally means less and less meaningful jobs that don't require some sort of degree, and community colleges are usually the most accessible on-ramps to that degree, whether accessibility is measured in terms of being able to financially afford it or being able to academically hack it.

And there's absolutely no shame in getting your studies in at a community college, not when putting your mind to it can lead to very lucrative careers in a whole host of knowledge economy jobs in high-growth industries like health care, social services, and engineering. After all, in our agricultural or industrial days, what importance was there for the typical worker to pick up classes in the evening on the side; but nowadays, it's almost a prerequisite that we all have to keep on sharpening the saw.

So I was highly inspired by all the good talk about Community College of Philadelphia at its first annual Pathways breakfast, hosted by its foundation and featuring a number of CCP grads who have gone on to do some pretty impressive things, as well as Bill Cosby, who brought the house down with his jokes and induced more than a few somber nods with his wise musings on education and race and opportunity in America. Kudos to all the honorees, and kudos to CCP for fulfilling its mission to make education accessible to all. Count me among your fans now - I should've gotten to the party sooner, but I'm glad to at least be here.
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