Role of Career Schools

Some 142,800 students attend more than 200 career colleges and schools located across the Lone Star State.

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Career colleges and schools are uniquely suited to meeting the needs of this substantial group of Texans. According to the Career Training Foundation, a non-profit research organization funded by the Career College Association, universities and career colleges comprise almost half of all post- secondary institutions in the US.

Students are more likely to come from lower-income families, have parents with less than high school educations, and come from racial/ethnic minority groups. Statistically, these are some of the most difficult-to-reach potential students; thus, the role of career schools is particularly important.

Almost 57,000 students were eligible to graduate and receive a degree, certificate, or diploma in a specific career field during the 2004-2005 period. The Texas Workforce Commission reports that 76.4% of the graduates seeking placement secured a job that was relevant to their training. Degrees, certificates and diplomas were concentrated in programs such as computer science, medical fields, and numerous other areas of high demand.One advantage of these institutions is that they tend to offer a highly efficient form of education, requiring less time and expense. A traditional two-year program can be completed in less than 18 months at a career college or school because students attend classes every day and have fewer mandatory holidays. The students are eligible to graduate and enter the workplace sooner, and the potential increase in lifetime earnings stemming from the additional training programs is generally far in excess of the money expended, thus creating a positive return on investment.

Another advantage of career colleges and schools is that they help match individuals to the required skills of the workplace. As noted, many of the fastest growing occupations are more geared to other types of training. By teaching the skills employers truly desire, career colleges enhance students’ prospects of fi nding and retaining employment. Even students who might not function well in a traditional college, whether due to inadequate preparation in high school or some other reason, can often succeed in the environment of small classes and hands-on teaching typically found in career schools.

Career colleges are often very adept at meeting the needs of local and regional employers. With strong ties between the schools, their alumni, and local firms, the colleges can effectively identify training needs and respond with appropriate class offerings.

One consideration is the geographically widespread nature of career schools. Although most available data deals primarily with public schools, it is apparent that a majority of students attend postsecondary educational facilities that are located in their home region. Thus, the fact that campuses are located in cities across the state leads to a larger number of students because the increased convenience of attending a school close to home encourages additional enroll-ment.

Career colleges and schools are also more likely to appeal to nontraditional students such as those already em-ployed. Such attendees are either engaged in other employment and various confl icts that make it diffi cult to attend schools with traditional schedules. Career colleges typically provide classes in the evenings to allow greater flexibility for potential students.

Excerpted from “Enhancing Prosperity for Texas and Texans: The Impact of Graduates from Career Colleges and Schools on Business Activity in Texas,” Copyright 2007, The Perryman Group.