Benefits of career education programs at AHC bolstered by new state campaign

Whether students want to launch careers in welding, automotive technology, nursing or public safety, they can receive the training and skills they need at Allan Hancock College. (Photo Contributed)

Staff Report

The importance of career education took center stage Thursday in the State Capitol in Sacramento as California Community Colleges launched a new campaign to promote career education as an affordable and accessible pathway to a career. Allan Hancock College offers more than 100 career education programs that offer hands-on training to help students land in-demand jobs.

The launch event, held at the State Capitol in Sacramento, included a press conference with state policymakers and higher education leaders, including Eloy Ortiz Oakley, California Community Colleges chancellor. The event targeted prospective students, both high school students and adults, who want to gain new skills, as well as parents, counselors and employers.

“Today the California Community Colleges launched an important effort to let all Californians know about the robust Career Education programs we offer,” said Oakley. “Our Career Education programs are the smartest, most affordable and accessible way for Californians to acquire the hands-on, high-quality skills they need to enter exciting, new and good-paying career fields – and to pursue the California Dream. Our system is one of inclusion and opportunity, and we’d like everyone to know about all we have to offer.”

The event also featured hands-on exhibits featuring a sampling of technology demonstrations affiliated with today’s Career Education programs including public safety, advanced manufacturing, retail, hospitality and tourism, nearly all of which are offered at Allan Hancock College.

The state campaign includes paid bilingual advertising for use via social and traditional media, multicultural outreach, local outreach events, online videos, and employer and stakeholder engagement.

The promotional campaign is an output of the Strong Workforce Program, a $200 million recurring investment made by Governor Jerry Brown and the California legislature to create one million more middle-skilled workers, thereby producing a job-ready workforce for employers and enabling social mobility for more Californians.

Although California is experiencing impressive economic growth, there is a widening gap between what employers need to continue that growth and what the state’s labor pool currently offers. The California Community Colleges launched this campaign because Career Education programs and apprenticeships provide important pathways for adults to boost their skills and for high school students to learn new skills for rewarding careers.

“Both adults and high school students hesitate to pursue higher education to gain new skills and refresh existing ones because they worry about student debt,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. “Career education offers a great pathway to increase earnings and make a living wage without that type of debt burden.”

Statewide, the median salary of a worker with an associate degree in a vocational career is $66,600 five years after completion (as compared to $38,500 for those with non-vocational associate degrees).

Last year, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office released a new student performance measurement that showed the benefits of taking a career technical education course at Hancock. Students, who took career technical education courses at Hancock in order to enhance their professional skills and returned to the workforce within one year, saw an average median wage increase of $5,547. The largest median wage increases found among Hancock programs during the study were in dental assisting ($19,231); electrical engineering ($17,624); fire technology ($11,423) and emergency medical services ($9,808).

Registration for fall classes at Allan Hancock College is under way. Classes begin the week of August 21. Financial aid is still available. Visit the college’s website at www.hancockcollege.edu and click Class Search for the most up-to-the-minute information. For registration information, call (805) 922-6966 ext. 3248.