Study: Workers can get high-demand jobs quickly, with a few noncredit classes
DES MOINES – A new report shows that Iowa workers seeking high-demand jobs can quickly acquire the skills and training needed to enter growing industries without having to earn two- and four-year degrees.
The report, released by the Iowa Department of Education in partnership with Iowa Workforce Development, details that students completing noncredit career and technical education (CTE) programs at Iowa’s community colleges experience high rates of success.
The Iowa Community Colleges Employment Outcomes: Noncredit Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs report is the first-of-its kind, containing state-level data on the education, employment, and earnings of students who enroll in noncredit CTE programs at Iowa’s 15 community colleges.
“Noncredit CTE programs are highly responsive to regional workforce needs and serve as a vital pathway to work, continued education, and a better life,” said Jeremy Varner, the Department’s division administrator of the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation.
Unlike credit-bearing courses, which are generally designed for students interested in earning college credit towards a degree or certificate, noncredit CTE programs prepare individuals for entry into the workforce, satisfy continuing education units required of certain occupations, offer custom job training to meet the needs of local employers, and provide a means for individuals to upgrade skills for their current jobs.
“Helping more Iowans to quickly earn market-driven credentials is key to getting them the rewarding jobs they deserve and getting employers the skilled workers they need to grow,” Varner said. “These programs often serve as a starting point for individuals to acquire skills they need to secure employment, continue education, and stay current in such high-demand industries as health care, manufacturing, and transportation.”
Building Iowa’s talent pipeline for the careers of today and tomorrow is key to the Future Ready Iowa initiative that calls for 70 percent of Iowans having education or training beyond high school by 2025. Approximately 58 percent of working-age Iowans currently hold such credentials.
Among the study’s findings:
- 63.4 percent of noncredit CTE students were 25 years or older as compared to 21.7 percent of credit students.
- 25.7 percent of noncredit CTE students were of a racial or ethnic minority group as compared to 21.7 percent of credit students.
- Upon exiting their noncredit CTE programs, 91.8 percent of the students were employed within the first year and 84.5 percent were employed in Iowa.
- 21.5 percent of noncredit students continued into credit-bearing programs.
- 10.5 percent of noncredit CTE students held previously earned postsecondary degrees.
- Wages increased 11.8 percent for individuals in the first year of exiting a noncredit CTE program.
- The top industry for employment following program exit was health care, followed by manufacturing, transportation, retail, construction, and administrative services.
- The programs that lead to the highest percentage of employment included medication aide (98.3), electrical/electronic equipment installation/repair (98.2), civil engineering technician (98.1), and HVAC technician (98.1).