CA Community Colleges' programs lead to higher incomes, especially among women
California Community Colleges programs in career and technical education drive higher incomes, especially for women, according to a new policy brief by UC Davis.
The study’s authors analyzed data from the California Community College Chancellor's Office, and measured how much a degree or certificate in the six largest career and technical education disciplines impacted income. The disciplines included in the study were business, information technology, engineering, health, family/consumer studies and security/law enforcement. According to the study, associate degrees in these fields increased earnings by an average of 33 percent, and shorter term certificates increased earnings by as much as 27 percent.
“This is further validation that community colleges are helping to lift Californians out of poverty with proven pathways that lead to good paying jobs,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris, noting that on Nov. 16 the Board of Governors will consider action on a sweeping set of recommendations by its Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation, and a Strong Economy. The task force recommendations are aimed at improving the delivery of workforce education and closing the skills gap.
The payoffs are even greater in health professions. The researchers found that two-year associate degree programs in health had the highest return at 69 percent. For those students earning certificates in health, which involve between six months to two years of coursework, incomes increased by 27 percent. The increase in income across disciplines for an associate degree for woman was 42 percent, driven by the high financial returns of health programs, since women are more likely to enter health programs. The income increase across disciplines for men was 21 percent.
Anyone interested in finding out how a California Community Colleges degree or certificate can impact salaries can visit an online tool called The Salary Surfer. The Salary Surfer provides an estimate on the potential wages to be earned two years and five years after receiving a certificate or degree in certain disciplines.