The “Geography of Opportunity” in Community Colleges: The Role of the Local Labor Market in Students’ Decisions to Persist and Succeed

Maria Reyes, Amalia Dache-Gerbino, Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, Manuel Gonzalez-Canche, Regina J Deil-Amen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The process by which students decide to stay in college has been primarily based on models that are independent of geographic context. This article describes the local labor market in which community college students are situated and discusses the multiple and complex ways these labor markets impact student decisions to persist and graduate. Method: Using institutional data and U.S. Census Data for 2010, this article argues that the process students use to decide to enroll and persist in community college needs to account for geographic context. Applying ArcGIS mapping, we layout students’ location, local labor market data, and the educational attainment data of a Houston area community college to map the geography of opportunity for these students. Results: The geography of opportunity signifies the educational or occupational opportunities afforded to individuals that are influenced by geography. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that research addressing persistence would benefit from acknowledging the geographic context of the higher education institution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCommunity College Review
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • community college
  • geography of opportunity
  • labor market
  • persistence
  • proximity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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