Employment is surging for community college graduates as demand ramps up for operators of computerized factory machines, heating and air conditioning repair people, X-ray technicians, medical records specialists and low- to midlevel managers, reports USA Today.
Many laid-off workers have turned to community colleges and vocational schools in recent years to rapidly retool for new careers. That has helped boost enrollment by 14.6% since 2007, vs. 1.3% the previous five years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
By contrast, many recent four-year college graduates have struggled to find work. “I think the two-year schools are offering more of an applicable, practical value,” says Thomas Ruhe, vice president of the Kauffman Foundation, which studies entrepreneurship. Many community colleges, he says, have better ties to local employers.
New workers with associate degrees in technical fields may earn more than people with non-technical bachelor’s degrees.