Print Page   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Register
Girard Melancon Blog
Share |

Why Advocating for Short-Term Pell is So Important



    Dr. Girard Melancon
    Vice Chancellor Workforce Education
    Baton Rouge Community College
    melancong@mybrcc.edu

 

As found in a 2017 study conducted by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), 14% of the student population is homeless and one in three students state they cannot afford enough to eat while pursuing a degree. Most importantly, nearly a third of these students are working many hours in low wage jobs that have nothing to do with their career pathway.

Conventional wisdom is the more you learn the more you earn. Is this true today? Not exactly. According to recent data obtained by Terry Williams from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce and from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following is true of short-term training certificate programs:

  • Men with certificates in computer/information services earn $72,498 per year, which is 72 percent more than men with an associate degree earn and 54 percent more than men with bachelor’s degrees earn.
  • Women with certificates in computer/information services and in a related occupation earn $56,664 per year, which is 75 percent more than what females with associate degrees earn and 64 percent more than what women with bachelor’s degrees earn.
  • Men with certificates in electronics earn $64,700, which is 65% more than what men with associate degrees earn and 48 percent more than what men with bachelor’s degrees earn.
  • Women with certificates in business/office work earn $38,204, which is 54 percent more than what women with associate degrees earn and 41 percent more than what women with bachelor’s degrees earn.

It’s not to say that 600 training hours is all a person needs to be hired as an advanced level technician in a high paying job. However, in many industries, individuals can start their careers with credentials that are made up of less than 600 clock hours. I often hear from my industry partners in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that it’s not the time one spends in school that truly matters- it’s the quality of on-the-job experience that one has.

More than just training, a person must have the motivation and the work ethic to move forward with their newly developed skills. I have witnessed over my five years at Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) how such short term, industry-driven training programs have resulted in moving so many people from poverty to prosperity. Many of our program graduates have secured full-time employment opportunities from regional employers with an average starting wage of $24 an hour. These employers state that their new hires must commit to additional training while they are working and learning on the job to further grow in their careers.

As workforce professionals, we work every day to develop programs with our industry partners so we can create and implement training opportunities for our citizens. To do this better, we need more workforce funding tools to better serve our industry partners and our citizens. This is why we are advocating for the workforce funding tool of having Pell Grants to cover the training costs for high-quality, industry-based certification/credential training that is less than 600 clock hours.

As we move forward to advocate for this workforce funding tool, please keep abreast of this issue. In the near future, NCWE and our partners like the National Skills Coalition will need your workforce regions’ industries voices while our congressional leaders are debating the merits for creating this workforce funding tool for your target industries.

Just think, if short-term Pell were approved today, it would be so empowering to have a workforce funding tool to help your local industries provide access to your high--quality training for that hardworking low-wage worker you have already seen today.

Read More NCWE Board Member Blogs


Career Opportunities
Colleges and may post open positions on the NCWE website. To post a job or look for a new career opportunity, click on the icon below.

AACC Affiliate Council
Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal