In this downward spiraling economy that we’re all stuck in, one of the few things that is going up (aside from anger, frustration and debt) is college enrollment. Evidently a significant number of people think that this is a good time to get some more education under their belts to ensure they’ll be better able to compete in the job market when it does finally improve. This is smart thinking. Rather than spend days and weeks and months being depressed and despondent about lack of work and opportunity, it’s a wise move to take advantage of the “down time” by doing something that will be profitable in the long run.
President Obama shares this view and has enthusiastically called for American’s to step up and become pro-active and better educated. In an address to Congress given earlier this year he made the case that three quarters of the fastest growing occupations in the country require more than a high school diploma and yet only about half of our citizenry have even graduated from high school.
In Utah, where I live, the state community colleges are being inundated with more applications than they can handle. Enrollment for the past year is up more than 12 percent. While those numbers are encouraging, the downside is that the funding for these colleges has dwindled to the point that many of these schools are needing to reduce classes and expenditures making it impossible to meet the demands of a growing enrollment. It’s a catch 22.
Another development in this picture is that due to the shrinking amount of money that we’re all dealing with, many who would normally choose to attend a four year college simply don’t have that luxury anymore and have come to the realization that for further education they’ll need to look to community colleges and technical schools. That is not a bad thing. Attending a community college does not have to mean you’ll get less of an education. There are hundreds of fine, accredited community colleges boasting highly qualified and capable teachers for a multitude of pertinent subjects. A lot of what learns in school, ANY school, has as much to do with the commitment and desire only brings to the experience as to the qualification of the teacher. Another plus for these community schools is that often the class sizes are much smaller which is a definite plus for the students.
The government has vowed to make needed changes and improvements in our educational system and this is something that needs to happen. Just today at a cabinet meeting, President Obama promised to create and assure funds for 135,000 education jobs, including teachers. That is good news for those seeking to take advantage of these difficult times and make the most of the opportunities that are presently available.