We’ve moved from a society where the pathway to success was once go to a 4-year College, get that degree, and the world a career opens up for you. That’s still a pathway but with the escalating cost of a 4-year College or University, receiving technical training or an academic 2-year degree is also a viable pathway. Now employers in many sectors seem more interested in knowing they can attract and recruit folks that have the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to be productive at their organization, degrees aren’t as much a barrier to entry. If a person hold a recognized credential or certification, that’s what many employers are looking for. People can get these from Community Colleges for a lot less money up front.
I’ve always been in fairly white collar jobs, taking the pathway of a 4-year degree, follow-on graduate degree and it worked for me. Thank goodness I had financial support so I didn’t incur student debt. I was lucky. Also fortunate, I get to work at a community college that has programs in which folks can get a trade in well-paid desirable jobs in the trades. I never considered that pathway but a person can become an electrician, earning good pay throughout their education, and get an apprenticeship to become a journeyman with only about $5K out of pocket which many times gets picked up by their employer. Some of these jobs go on to make $100K plus annually… all without student debt. That ain’t a bad deal right there.
And in Dallas-Fort Worth, they have one of the leading Community College systems in the nation between Tarrant County College and Dallas College systems and various campus locations. This ain’t your Tarrant County Junior College (TCJC) of old my friends. There is so much that a Community College does fulfilling a vital role in being a community partner and supporting local and regional economies. Kids can knock out all their core class requirements for a fraction of the cost of a University and then go on to transfer the Community College credit and get their Bachelor’s from that same University. No different than a graduate who went all four years there. It’s truly a good thing.