The national unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent, and jobs are slowly returning to the economy. If you’re one of the many individuals still struggling to find work, consider this: of the approximately 54,000 jobs added in May, 63 percent required post-high school training or a degree, with nearly 50 percent requiring an associate degree or better.
Community colleges are a great place to boost your skills, build credentials and prepare yourself for a job in today’s workforce. Whether — like 20 percent of the working-age population — you started college but never finished or whether you left off your education with a high school diploma or GED, community colleges provide a second chance to get a college degree and advance your career.
Is a community college right for you?
If you are considering going back to school to earn credentials or finish up your degree, check out some common reasons students go back to school at community colleges:
- Cut down on costs. Tuition at community colleges is often significantly lower than public and private four-year colleges and universities. Many financial aid options are also available through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website.
- Find flexible class times. Classes are offered during the day, evening and weekends to accommodate your busy schedule. More than 80 percent of community college students work part- or full-time jobs and many have family responsibilities.
- Learn in a small group. The average community college class size has less than 30 people; this intimate setting allows you to receive personal attention to help you succeed in their school work.
- Earn transferable credits. Students frequently begin their undergraduate studies at a community college and finish at a four-year school. Also, many community colleges accept a wide range of credits from educational institutions to help you continue to advance towards a degree.
- Commute to convenient locations: Many students are able to attend college while living at home to save on campus-living costs. Check out the Community College Finder to find the closest location to you.
Goodwill’s collaboration with community colleges
In 2009, Goodwill Industries International launched the Community College/Career Collaboration (C4) initiative with the American Association of Community Colleges, the Aspen Institute and Jobs for the Future. The project aims to increase college and career success for thousands of individuals who lack a college or career credential by providing them with easy access to education, job-specific training and supportive services.
The initiative has grown to include seven community colleges across the country and offers a wide range of classes including office technology, customer service, construction, electronic medical records and phlebotomy, as well as courses that train people for careers as pharmacy assistants, certified nursing assistants, electricians’ helpers and more.
A Goodwill near you can connect you to information about community colleges in your area and help you get started on furthering your career. To get assistance with educational opportunities and to learn about other job training opportunities: