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Bad economy is good news for community colleges

"People are making career changes and these are a lot of young adults, not necessarily the 18 to 21 year old but the 22 year old to 35 year old who either needs to return to the work force to be the second earner in the family or needs to re-skill, re-tool," Zimpher said.

"Or, we're told, that these generations that follow us are going to have multiple careers," she added. "People are just deciding to do something different and they are applying back to our community colleges at an incredibly high rate."

And if institutions like North Country can continue expanding and improving upon programming, Zimpher expects those figures to keep rising even after the nation's economy recovers.

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