"Workforce Education at Green River was VERY instrumental in allowing me to go back to school, and I'm grateful for all the assistance I received and continue to receive." - Genie L, Green River Student

"Make sure you talk to Workforce Education...They can help in many ways to make things go smoothly and make sense." - Chris S, Green River Student

"Workforce Education...will embrace you and lend a helping hand with open hearts." Elsie Q, Green River Student

"Workforce Education has been there for me since day one!" - Jenny S, Green River student

Jun 23, 2010

Washington Jobs Requiring Postsecondary Education

In our previous post, we briefly discussed the Help Wanted report, which claims that some college education after high school (or postsecondary education, in other words) is becoming more and more of a prerequisite to find a good job. 

The report also incorporates a state-by-state analysis of the the job outlook through 2018.  The statistics it provides regarding employment in Washington State are of particular interest.  Specifically:

By 2018, 67% of jobs in Washington will required postsecondary education.  This is 4 percentage points above the national average of 63%.  Washington ranks 6th (out of a possible 50) in postsecondary education intensity for 2018.

Interested in reading more of what the report has to say about the future of jobs in Washington State? Click here.

Jun 16, 2010

More Employers Will Require Some College

A recent New York Times article by Jacques Steinberg highlights a report recently released by the Center of Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University entitled, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018.  

The Help Wanted report, most notably, argues that some college education after high school is becoming more and more necessary for entry into the middle class. As evidence, the report states that the number of jobs requiring at least a two-year degree will outpace the number of people qualified to fill those positions by at least three million in 2018 (click here for a visual). 

College education hasn't always been necessary in this country to find a good-paying job.  The report, for example, shows that in 1970, about 75 percent of workers considered to be middle class didn't have education beyond high school.  The workforce landscape has changed since, significantly so.  In 2007, under 40 percent of workers considered to be middle class didn't have education beyond high school.  And that percentage, according to the report, will continue to drop in the coming decade.

The Help Wanted authors conclude, "High school graduates and dropouts will find themselves largely left behind in the coming decade as employer demand for workers with postsecondary degrees continues to surge." 

The moral?  A college education is not simply a luxury - it's increasingly a necessity and a prerequisite for better earnings and a higher qualify of life.

Jun 10, 2010

10 Reasons To Pick A Community College

"One of the faster-growing and most important segments of the American college scene is the community college." 

So reads the first sentence of a frequently cited US News & World Report article by Lynn F. Jacobs and George R. Boggs entitled, "10 Reasons To Pick A Community College."  The article first appeared in June of 2009. As envinced in its title, the article highlights the top 10 reasons why students should consider applying to a community college (in some cases called two-year, junior, or technical colleges).

The top 10 reasons to attend a community college include the following:

1. Affordability.  It's no surprise affordability tops the list.  The average annual tuition and fees for a full-time community college student, according to Jacobs and Boggs, is around a third of the cost of tuition and fees at four-year colleges and universities.  Attending a community college translates into big savings.
Just compare Green River's resident tuition and fee rate with that of any four-year university.
2. Convenience.  Community colleges, as Jacobs and Boggs also observe, offer classes at times and locations that are convenient for students who have jobs, kids, or other family responsibilities.
Take Green River, for example, which offers early morning, morning, afternoon, evening, online, flex, and weekend classes to accomodate diverse student populations who want to attend on a full-time or part-time basis. Also at Green River, students can take classes on the main campus, or the Kent Station campus, or the Enumclaw campus, or the Auburn Center location.
3. Open Access.  Community colleges, write Jacobs and Boggs, do not have exclusive admissions standards that require high scores or a certain grade point average from high school.  They provide open access to the community. 
It usually only takes a day or two to have your application for admission to the college processed.  In addition, at Green River, students don't even need their GED or High School Diploma to begin attending college level classes.  Open access is the name of the game and puts the community into community college.
4. Teaching Quality.  Jacobs and Boggs correctly point out that community college classes are taught by experienced faculty, not graduate students or teaching assistants.  Community college faculty members, while still committed to their respsective academic disciplines, aren't pulled away from the work of teaching by stringent research / publishing requirements.
Click here to read about three distinguished faculty members at Green River. 
5. Class Size.  Jacob and Boggs state that class sizes at community colleges are significantly smaller than freshman and sophomore level classes found at public universities.  Nationwide, most community college classes have fewer than 35 students. 
The average class size at GRCC is 30. 
6. Support Services.  Community colleges, write Jacobs and Boggs, offer a variety of services to help students. 
Green River has three different tutoring centers, financial aid tutorials, workforce education funding workshops, counseling services, a variety of student clubs, and extensive library services, only to name a few.
7. Choices.  Community colleges, according to Jacobs and Boggs, frequently offer a variety of educational pathways, from transfer degree programs to vocational training.
Green River fits the bill on this point.  We are a comprenhensive community college.  That is, we offer academic transfer programs, a wide variety of professional technical programs, adult basic skills, GED preparation, High School Completion, study abroad programs, international student programs, and continuing education classes designed for personal enrichment and professional development.  The choices are endless.
8. Diversity.  Jacobs and Boggs keenly observe that community college serve the most diverse group of students in higher education.  The opportunity, they write, to interact with and to learn from other students of diverse ages and diverse backgrounds is invaluable.  Attending a community college, therefore, prepares students to live and flourish within an increasingly globalized, diverse world. 
Green River's chief aim is to help diverse students reach their goals.  One only needs to visit any one of our campuses to see a student population of diverse age, enthinicity, culture, and socio-economic status.   
9. Access To Modern Technology.  Because of the strong partnerships with business and industry, community colleges, according to Jacobs and Boggs, often have cutting-edge equipment that is used by students in the classroom.  Since community colleges offer two degrees, the use of the best equipment isn't reserved for upperclassman or graduate students.
Green River offers 44 different professional technical training programs.  Professional technical programs typically combine classroom learning with hands-on training using technologies specific to a wide variety of occupations.  Professional technical programs are also guided by Industry Advisory committees which ensure training meets the demands of local industry and business.
10. Good Company.  Jacobs and Boggs, in jocular fashion, point out that some of the most accomplished people started their education at a community college - from J. Craig Venter (who mapped the human genome) to Ricahrd Carmona (the former US Surgeon General) to Eileen Collins (the first NASA female shuttle commander) to Nolan Ryan (famous MLB pitcher). 
Green River alum extend far and wide.  Read more about Green River alumni by clicking here.


Jun 1, 2010

Tipping Point Research

You may be asking yourself, 'why go back to school?'  If you look hard enough, you might eventually find a job. However, most new jobs and the majority of jobs that pay a wage that is sufficient to support a family, require at least some education beyond high school. A research study called the "Tipping Point" was conducted in April of 2005 by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.  The study examined the educational achievements and the employment earnings of a cohort of students five years after they first enrolled in a community college. Here are some of the more salient results from the study:

  • Individuals who went through community college occupational degree programs were eight percent more likely to be employed and they earned over $4,400 per year more on average that did similar individuals in the Washington labor force who did not enroll in any training program.
  • Not only do workers with at least a year of college and a credential earn substantially more, they are also in higher demand among employers.
  • Short term training (1-2 quarters) without receiving a credential, may help individuals get into the labor market, but it usually does not help them advance beyond low paying jobs. Adult basic education classes and/or a limited number of college level classes do not provide much benefit in terms of employment or earnings.
  • Students who start with a plan to attend college for a year or longer were more successful than students who did not know upon enrollment how long they would attend.
In sum, the Tipping Point Research Study confrms that education and training have the power to transform the quality of one's life - it shows that earning a professional technical certificate (equivalent to 3 quarters of full time study) can provide a significant earnings advantage compared with those with just some college but no degree. 

But in attending college you need to have a plan before you begin.  Investigate the different types of degrees and certificates offered at Green River Community College, and read about the kind of jobs you might qualify for once you finish the degree or certificate. Once you decide on a training program, plan out how long it will take you to finish it.  The more you plan, the more successful you will be.

To read the Tipping Point Research Study in full click here (it's relatively short, weighing in at about 6 pages).