Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, Guest Columnist
The Picayune Item
A recent article in the USA Today (http://www.usatoay.com/story/money/personalfinance/ 2012/10/17/community-college-job-growth/1639275/) highlighted the rewards of a community college degree. The author indicated that those with an associate’s degree increased by 578,000 compared to a 314,000 job increase for those with a bachelor’s degree. That is really good news for those seeking to gain an entry level skill and enter the workforce. Some of these vocations include welders, instrumentation technicians, respiratory therapists, nurses and the like. The job market for those with only a high school diploma remained stagnant.
The idea here is certainly not to demean the value of a four year degree. Certainly an increase in 314,000 jobs is a good thing, considering that the job market has been in such disarray for the past few years. But the notion that should be shared with those that do not wish to go the university is to get a community college credential. The job market for those with an associate’s degree is currently growing at twice the pace as the market for baccalaureates.
Some of the areas that are predicted to continue to expand in the south Miss. and La. are the sectors that include transportation and warehousing, utilities, wholesale trade, natural resources and mining, leisure and hospitality, and information technologies. Besides the relative low cost of entering these fields via the community college route, another attractive feature is that the time to attain a credential, or degree, is typically two years or less.
If after gaining a credential form the community college the person would like to attain a four year baccalaureate degree, then there are many options available. Many colleges and universities have online programs, weekend programs and other formats that are available to the working professional. Many companies even have tuition reimbursement that will help pay for a college degree while employed. With the high cost of a university degree these days, the community college to work and then university might be the best option.