Community Colleges Seeing an Increase in Students

    This school year is about to end for many high school students across Texoma. And for many graduating seniors, community colleges statewide could be the next phase of their education.
     Vernon College President Dusty Johnston says the allied health technical programs have seen the most increase. Johnston says over the last 4 years the college student population has increased between 4 to 8 percent each year  a direct result of a sluggish economy.
    Community colleges are often a bridge from high school to a 4- year college.  In recent years, unemployed Americans have used these 2- year programs to help them get back to work. And, the number of students enrolled in America's 1,200 community colleges has skyrocketed.
    "One of the primary roles of community colleges is to produce workers for the workforce so we are seeing more students of all ages come in, not just traditional age student," said Johnston.
    Both Texas Governor Rick Perry and President Obama recently put a lot of emphasis on 2-year technical programs to produce more workers.
    "In our society today there is plenty of jobs out there for people with one year degrees and two year degree to enter directly in to the workforce," said Johnston.
    Johnston says this job trend was predicted 20 years ago by a study put out by the federal government
    "What is said was in 20 years the job market is going to be technical, trade jobs. People needing beyond high school not necessarily beyond as far as technical training two year level. But if you look in the paper today on a Sunday those are the jobs that are out there," said Johnston.
    Because of this growing trend the American Association of Community Colleges estimates by 2018 that 29 percent of the workforce to have associate degrees.
    Johnston says 6 months after graduating from the technical program 90 percent the students have found jobs.

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