CNCC Corner: College fine tunes programs to address workforce shortages, help students find high paying careers
President of Colorado Northwestern Community College
There has been a great deal of talk recently about the “Great Resignation” and labor shortages happening across the United States.
Employers are struggling to find and retain qualified professionals in key industries. Currently, there is an alarming shortage of pilots, aviation maintenance techs, nurses, and cybersecurity and IT professionals.
At Colorado Northwest Community College we are working hard to adjust our programs and offerings to help fill those gaps quickly. Here are a few examples:
Under the leadership of our new Aviation-Flight Program Director Nathan Hardin, we have been increasing student flight time to provide these future pilots with the necessary experience they need to fill the thousands of vacancies in today’s flight industry.
We have also increased recruitment efforts, holding aviation specific events like the recent Landing your Career day to introduce junior and senior students to career options in aviation and aviation maintenance.
CNCC launched this new degree program last fall. In its first semester, CNCC exceeded its enrollment goal by 50%. Additionally, one third of its first semester class passed the industry recognized CompTIA Security+ and Network+ exams, making them eligible to begin working IT and cybersecurity in a minor capacity in while they continue to complete their degree.
To provide greater opportunity to community members, CNCC is expanding the number of seats offered to residents and is making admission to the program more accessible. Our new Guaranteed Admission Program will provide new students peace of mind as they take necessary classes to prepare for admission into the nursing program.
Students who attend full-time can typically complete any of these degrees in as little as two years. This gets them into the workforce quickly and can help alleviate pressure from job shortages.
Additionally, these high paying careers have starting salaries ranging from $52,000 to $84,000. That puts them above the average starting salary for bachelor’s degree holders (from Humanities to Engineering graduates), typically $46,000-$68,000.
Moving forward, Colorado Northwestern will continue to look at ways we can help alleviate labor shortages while providing excellent career opportunities for our students. For now, I am looking forward to closing out the academic year with you in our next CNCC corner and sharing a bit more about what is next. There are great things ahead.
Lisa Jones is the president of Colorado Northwest Community College.
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