Students don’t need college-level academic skills to learn marketable job skills, write Northwestern researchers James Rosenbaum and Caitlin Ahearn.
Occupational certificates require 8th to 10th grade-level math and English, according to community college faculty in California and Illinois.
A Cisco Certified Network Associate starts at at $45,600 in Florida, they report. Pump operators who’ve earned a certificate are in high demand: 92 percent are employed at an average wage of $56,196. Paramedics and practical nurses also do well with a certificate, but no degree.
Florida’s College and Career Readiness Initiative informs 11th graders if they’re on track for college-level courses, giving them time to remediate in 12th grade, they write. However, it “targets college readiness exclusively, and assumes that the same standards apply to occupational tracks.” Students and teachers have no idea there are community college programs that will admit less-prepared students and train them in marketable skills.