Get a job, then enroll

The trucking industry needs to hire 95,000 new truckers every year, but training programs turn out only 75,000 and half the job applicants are ineligible due to recent drunk driving convictions. A startup called WorkAmerica is trying to fill the gap: The company vets would-be truckers, lines up job offers and places them in community college training programs. If they complete the program, they’ve got the job.

People with “some college, no degree” aren’t just dropouts. Some have earned vocational certificates that are worth a great deal in the workforce — as much as an associate degree.

Career grads outearn 4-year grads

Florida’s community college graduates with vocational certificates and two-year occupational degrees start at higher salaries than state university graduates with bachelor’s degrees, the state reports.

Why? Two words: health careers. With an associate degree in applied science,  community college graduates are earning serious money as nurses, medical technicians, etc.  Others are prepared for jobs as computer techs, paralegals and utility workers. I’m surprised six-month certificate holders are earning more than four-year graduates, but many of those bachelor’s degrees are in non-technical majors with little labor market value.

Community college students in career programs aren’t pondering the meaning of life, but neither are most four-year students, who are piling up a lot of debt for that sociology degree.

Four-year college doesn’t fit all

Four-year college doesn’t fit all students, argues Beyond One-Size-Fits-All College Dreams: Alternative Pathways to Desirable Careers in American Educator. Low achievers should aim for vocational certificates rather than bachelor’s degrees, argue the authors.

For-profit higher education is a bargain for taxpayers, according to a new study that compares public costs of the for-profit, non-profit and public sectors.

IBM and City University of New York plan a six-year high school-college hybrid that will graduate students with an associate degree and the inside track to a job.

It’s all on Community College Spotlight.