I just returned from the AoC Conference in Birmingham to celebrate our American Thanksgiving with family. This year’s trip the U.K. afforded me the first opportunity to interact with our British colleagues since the June 23rd Brexit vote, the subsequent change at 10 Downing Street, and our November 8th Presidential Election. Clearly the sea change in British and American politics has created a good deal of anxiety for both or our sectors. How appropriate, then, to spend time across the pond to share and reflect on our two sectors and the work that lies ahead.

I have opined in this column on several occasions about the similarities and differences between the colleges of further education and community and technical colleges. My most recent trip to the AoC Conference has convinced me even more profoundly that our similarities far outweigh our differences.  My exchanges with my colleagues in the U.K., and between AoC and the organization that I am privileged to oversee, highlight the need for greater cooperation and “brainstorming.”

I heard much at the AoC Conference about the status of the area reviews and consolidation among colleges. I was struck by the impetus behind area reviews and the many complexities involved in “getting it right.” At the heart of this process is the need to place students and communities at the forefront of any movement to consolidate and refocus on core mission. This really resonated with me as I reflected on the current situation in the U.S., where funding and investment in our colleges continues to pose serious challenges. Such fiscal pressures are leading policymakers to reexamine their own community and technical college systems and how to achieve greater economies of scale, resource efficiencies and higher student success outcomes.

The American elections have further consolidated power in the states and in Washington, D.C. with the Republican Party and the more conservative voices of the party. This will have real implications for our sector and suggests that we, like our British colleagues, will need to polish our arguments and reframe our data to resonate more appropriately with changing political and social trends. 

We need to focus with a great deal more intentionality on outcomes and the myriad economic connections between education and workforce development and jobs. It’s not that the colleges of further education and community and technical colleges lack for a good story; rather, the story must shift in ways that recapture the imagination of our changing politics and focus on our internal socio-economic turmoil.ACCT President J Noah Brown 2016 small

While it is early in the game with respect to the new British and American Leadership, it is abundantly clear that we need to up our efforts in defense of our sectors. I, for one, continue to believe that the forces and movements that currently vex our economies, our senses of identity and our places in the world can be addressed through the great leveling power our colleges possess in serving a wider array of individuals who are looking for better economic mobility and fit in today’s complex, interdependent world. 

My optimism is not naïve; it is an optimism informed by the continuing dialogue and exchange between our two sectors. As Sir Winston Churchill observed, “America always does the right thing after exhausting all other alternatives.” Continued dialogue and exchange across the pond will compensate for the perceived paucity of alternatives. I believe that the incredible leadership of our two sectors will do the right thing now that we’re needed more than ever to bring a renewed sense of commonality and shared values to our two nations.

J. Noah Brown is the president and CEO of the Association of Community College Trustees and the author of First in the World: Community Colleges and America’s Future.  He is based in Washington, D.C.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page