Adjuncts strike at Nassau Community College

Adjunct instructors are on strike at Nassau Community College in New York, defying a judge’s order to return to work.

Adjuncts have been working without a contract since 2010.  The Adjunct Faculty Association, an independent union representing 2,600 adjunct faculty, proposed a retroactive pay raise of 4.9 percent each year. The union estimates the contract would cost $14.5 million. The Board of Trustees, which estimated the total cost at $63.4 million through 2018, rejected the contract, triggering the strike.

In an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed, Alicia Steger, a college spokeswoman, said adjuncts are paid $5,100 to teach a three-credit course. “That is the highest of the colleges in the area.  We have heard numerous reports from adjuncts who teach elsewhere that they would love to teach at NCC. So, that is our answer to the claim of unfair working conditions.”

High pay, no bachelor’s degree

Air traffic controllers average more than $100,000 a year — without a bachelor’s degree, reports the Wall Street Journal. Also  lucrative: radiation therapist, dental hygienist, nuclear medicine technologist and fashion designer.

2-year tech degrees offer middle-class pay

Recent graduates with a technical or vocational associate degree average higher earnings than four-year graduates in three states analyzed by CollegeMeasures. In Virginia, the average technical associate degree graduate earned $49,000 a year between 2006 and 2010.

Community college degrees “are worth a lot more than I expected and that I think other people expected,” said Mark Schneider, president of CollegeMeasures and a vice president at the American Institutes for Research.

The job news gets even better for two-year graduates, reports Forbes.

This on the heels of stats from the Department of Labor from the fall that showed job growth for those with associate’s degrees was outpacing that of more advanced degree holders. The good news doesn’t stop there; the majority of the fastest growing occupations in the US, from dental hygienists to veterinary technologists,  require only a community college education.

In 2010 – 2011, the average community college student paid $2713 in tuition and received, on average, $1700 in Pell Grant aid, Forbes notes. Most community college students don’t borrow to complete an associate degree and those who do don’t need to go heavily in debt.

10 top jobs for two-year graduates

The 10 top-paying jobs for associate degree graduates are lead by air traffic controller (median pay of $108,040), construction manager ($83,860) and radiation therapist ($74,980), according to NerdWallet.

Among fast-growing jobs, occupations requiring an associate’s degree had the highest average growth — 35 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Health care jobs are driving the rapid expansion of jobs requiring a two-year degree.

Three careers made the high-pay and high-growth list: registered nurse, medical sonographer and dental hygienist.

 Top Jobs Requiring an Associate’s by Median Pay

A skills gap? Try paying more

Is there a skills gap? Or a bunch of cheapskate employers offering low wages for high-level skills? Skills Don’t Pay the Bills writes Adam Davidson in the New York Times Magazine.

Earlier this month, hoping to understand the future of the moribund manufacturing job market, I visited the engineering technology program at Queensborough Community College in New York City. . . . As the instructor Joseph Goldenberg explained, today’s skilled factory worker is really a hybrid of an old-school machinist and a computer programmer. Goldenberg’s intro class starts with the basics of how to use cutting tools to shape a raw piece of metal. Then the real work begins: students learn to write the computer code that tells a machine how to do it much faster.

Computer-controlled machines have replaced low-skilled factory workers, writes Davidson. Manufacturers need “people who know how to run the computer that runs the machine.”

Running these machines requires a basic understanding of metallurgy, physics, chemistry, pneumatics, electrical wiring and computer code. It also requires a worker with the ability to figure out what’s going on when the machine isn’t working properly.

Goldenberg’s students will find jobs, the instructor says. Nationwide, manufacturers say there are 600,000 jobs available for skilled workers.  Both President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney talked about the skills gap during the campaign.

But if employers really were desperate, they’d raise wages, argues Davidson. In most places, that hasn’t happened.

Eric Isbister, the C.E.O. of GenMet, a metal-fabricating manufacturer outside Milwaukee, told me that he would hire as many skilled workers as show up at his door. Last year, he received 1,051 applications and found only 25 people who were qualified. He hired all of them, but soon had to fire 15. Part of Isbister’s pickiness, he says, comes from an avoidance of workers with experience in a “union-type job.” Isbister, after all, doesn’t abide by strict work rules and $30-an-hour salaries. At GenMet, the starting pay is $10 an hour. Those with an associate degree can make $15, which can rise to $18 an hour after several years of good performance.

When manufacturers raise pay, they can find enoughskilled workers — except in a few cities where the oil industry is booming, according to a Boston Consulting Group city.  “Trying to hire high-skilled workers at rock-bottom rates is not a skills gap,” the study concludes.

CC presidents earn $167K — more for minorities

Community college presidents average $167,000 in base pay, but blacks and Hispanics earn more, according to an American Association of Community Colleges survey. The median total compensation, which includes base salary plus other pay for fulfilling presidential duties, was $177,462.

That compares to $421,395 for public four-year college presidents in 2010-11, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. For four-year private-college presidents, the median total compensation was $385,909 in 2009.

Hispanic presidents reported the highest median base salary of any ethnic group, at $201,553, the study found. Black presidents had a median base salary of $190,000, and white presidents had a median base salary of $167,200.

. . .  black and Hispanic presidents were more likely than their white counterparts to work at large colleges and in urban areas, and both factors are associated with institutions that pay higher salaries.

Female leaders of community colleges reported a median base salary of $170,000, slightly higher than male presidents, but men took a slight lead in total cash compensation.

Most presidents receive additional compensation.

Sixty-six percent said they received a college-provided car or car allowance, 58 percent said they received allowances for professional club dues, and 32 percent said they received college-provided housing or a housing allowance. Only 15 percent reported that their spouse or partner also received allowances.

Some 75 percent of community-college presidents plan to retire in the next 10 years.

Job outlook for new grads

Job Outlook & Starting Salaries for New Grads
Compiled by: Online Colleges Guide

Job outlook brightens for graduates

Employers expect to hire 10.2 percent more new college graduates this year than they did last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook update.

Median starting salaries for the class of 2012 are up 4.5 percent to $42,569 a year, NACE reports. Engineering jobs pay the most — a median of $58,581.

High-paying jobs for two-year grads

Registered nurse leads Monster’s list of high-paying jobs with an associate’s degree.

Also on the list:  dental hygienist (hygienist salaries), respiratory therapist (respiratory therapist salaries), programmer  (programmer salaries), telecom installer (telecom installer salaries), industrial engineering technician (salaries for engineering techs), police officer (police officer salaries), HVAC mechanic (HVAC mechanic salaries) and paralegal (paralegal salaries).

Heating/air-conditioning techs may qualify via apprenticeship without a degree. Paralegals may find jobs with a certificate.

Community college graduates with associate degrees in health fields are finding good jobs, but other associate degree graduates are struggling, writes Community College Dean.

California seeks CC pay data

California Controller John Chiang has asked the state’s 72 community college districts to submit information on employee pay. Chiang is compiling a database of local government salaries.

“Compensation for chancellors of the state’s 15 largest districts ranges from $228,000 in Ventura County to more than $390,000 for Sacramento’s Brice Harris,” reports the Sacramento Bee.