In the midst of a challenging economic recovery, the nation’s policy makers and education leaders are seeking new and potentially more effective strategies to align personal and public educational investments with job creation, increased levels of employment, small business development, and entrepreneurial activity. Reaching the 2020 national college completion goal will require powerful and fully implemented innovations in two-year colleges, particularly in states and regions where economic difficulties are more deeply entrenched. Grounded in the Midwest context, this special issue examines several promising policies and innovations that re-envision the role of two-year colleges in developing regional rather than local solutions to the emerging economic and educational challenges. This is the 157th volume of this Jossey-Bass quarterly report series. Essential to the professional libraries of presidents, vice presidents, deans, and other leaders in today's open-door institutions, New Directions for Community Colleges provides expert guidance in meeting the challenges of their distinctive and expanding educational mission.