The U.S. Department of State's Community College Initiative (CCI) Program is commemorating its 10-year anniversary with the release of Community College Initiative Program: The First Ten Years. The publication shares the story of the CCI Program’s creation, its impacts, and the stories of some of the program’s remarkable alumni. In the ten years since the CCI Program’s creation in 2007, the program has expanded opportunities for underserved youth abroad and has made a difference in our communities both at home and abroad.
The CCI Program’s participants are individuals who do not have easy access to international exchanges or study abroad opportunities. Participants have come from 21 developing countries since the inaugural cohort from Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa, and Turkey. Participants enroll in courses in agriculture, applied engineering, business management and administration, early childhood education, information technology, media, public safety, and tourism and hospitality management. Participants also build their skillsets through hands-on experiences volunteering or in internships, as well as through leadership and soft skills training. Their professional development activities prime the students to return home, share what they have learned, and give back to their home communities.
The CCI Program’s mission isn’t only focused on helping those abroad; it also aims to enrich the educational experience for community college students in the United States and promote American leadership in today’s globalized economy. Community colleges serve a significant percentage of Americans pursuing higher education, yet U.S. community college students study abroad in low numbers. American students benefit from having international CCI peers in their classrooms, student clubs and organizations, and communities. As they engage with each other, U.S. and international peers—who might otherwise never have met—expand their perspectives, build skills to succeed in the global workforce, and develop friendships and networks that last a lifetime.
The CCI Program’s commitment to educational inclusivity and providing opportunities for education, training, and engagement for individuals who have had limited access to international exchange has created vital relationships between members of underrepresented communities at home and abroad. Through the CCI Program the participants and the U.S. students are able to make their home communities stronger because of the lessons and stories they learn from each other.
To read the Community College Initiative Program: The First Ten Years andto learn more about the CCI Program, click here.
About the Author: BryAna Stearns is a Public Affairs and Strategic Communications intern for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Press Team.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.