Who We Are

A Growing National Network

The Community Learning Partnership is a national network of Community Change Studies programs that prepare students for careers in organizing, economic development, advocacy, policymaking and many forms of public service.

Our programs develop new, educational pathways into community change careers. We are based primarily in community colleges that work in partnership with community organizations, agencies and often, 4-year colleges to offer specialized Degrees or Certificates that can lead directly to jobs or provide transfer credit to other educational institutions.  Our students gain skills that are valuable in all areas of life and work.

Our students are primarily people of color and most come from low-moderate income backgrounds.  This includes first generation college students and others who may not otherwise have access to the career possibilities in community change. In addition to expanding opportunities, we aim to alleviate the shortage of staff and leaders who can bring their direct experience to addressing the serious problems facing their own communities, as well as our country and our world.

Our focus on community colleges reflects their central role in providing pathways to careers for students from diverse communities and their experience in partnering with practitioners to meet local workforce needs.  Nearly half of all undergraduates in the United States attend community college and most of these students are people of color. Relatively affordable, Associates Degrees and Certificates are acknowledged by the Department of Labor and local and state education policymakers as important steps in upward mobility.

Our approach of establishing programs through academic and community partnerships ensures that students are learning what the field needs; the programs are stable, sustainable and locally driven; there is a basis for experiential learning and internships; and students and graduates have ongoing access to the professional relationships they need to navigate meaningful careers and purposeful lives.

Our Programs Are:

Locally Driven: Each program considers recommended program elements and develops within the context of local needs and priorities.

Engaged with Student Needs: We include student supports, experiential learning and mentoring.

Supported by Expert Faculty:  Our experienced faculty are invested in student success. Expert practitioners serve as co-teachers or adjunct faculty.

Connected with Real Issues:  Students work on local and campus issues, and explore topics such as social and political power; race, culture, class and gender; the history of social movements; and listening skills, relationship building and critical analysis.

Relevant to Career and Life: Our cross sector approach offers students the tools to be critical thinkers, team builders, organizers and agents of positive, social change in a range of careers and in their lives.

Part of Something More:  On the national level, programs come together to strategize and learn from one another, in order to strengthen our collective efforts.


With gratitude, we acknowledge the support and partnership of our national funders, including:

  • The California Endowment
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
  • Deerbrook Charitable Trust
  • U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation


Download a printer-ready version of Who We Are, Our Mission, Our Goal.