Investing in career education

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

An effort by San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges will help students earn more, more quickly.

In 2017, 38 percent of employment in San Diego County and 36 percent in Imperial County were for middle-skill jobs. Those percentages likely will grow by 2022, according to a report from the San Diego-Imperial Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research. In fact, between 2017 and 2022, there will be more than 47,000 job openings per year in the area’s 100 top middle-skill job categories—jobs where there already are worker shortages.

Knowing that, San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges (SDICCC) have launched a new effort to prepare students at all 10 community colleges for these well-paying, in-demand careers. It starts with a unified message: “Learn more. Earn more.”

The regional campaign targets both high school students and adults and highlights programs geared toward occupations with the highest need for workers, such as industrial machinery mechanics, healthcare support workers and computer user support specialists. The Career Education students will get hands-on learning and have opportunities for internships, apprenticeships and other work experiences.

These experiences are made possible through “powerful partnerships with local employers to help students find their path and launch their careers,” Sunny Cooke, superintendent and president of the MiraCosta Community College District, said in a press release.

Career education at SDICCC is an affordable option for students, too. Students pay an average of $1,104 in fees per year. That’s compared to $5,472 at a California State University, $12,192 at a University of California school and $34,740 at a private institution.

There could be a big return on investment for career education students. In San Diego County, workers in the top 100 middle-skill jobs earn a median hourly wage of $26.70 (or $55.5K annually). In Imperial County, workers in the top 100 middle-skill jobs earn a median hourly wage of $23.96 per hour (or $49.8K annually).

This campaign is part of California’s Strong Workforce Program, a $200 million state investment aimed at creating a million more middle-skill workers to produce a job-ready workforce for employers and enable social mobility for more Californians.


AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.