H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Dec 27, 2013 7:02 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

Adults returning to college to improve work skills

A newly released study found one in seven students who enter community colleges have already been in the workforce for several years and are going back to school to increase their salaries or improve their work skills. It's called career technical training.

"These are the meat and potatoes," said Cuesta Community College student Robyn Johnson.

Johnson is in the computer networking technologies program at Cuesta Community College in San Luis Obispo. She spent the past 12 years serving in the U.S. Army.

"I would like to have a small start and since I have not been in school for 20 years I said, ok I'm going to go to a two-year college and get my feet wet," said Johnson.

She says computer networking was her career the past decade, but she's back in the classroom to become better at her craft.

"I have people working for PG&E and AT&T," said Johnson.

Cuesta College's Career Technical Education has dozens of programs from web technology, nursing and automotive.

"They want to have some skills they can package together and go out, establish themselves in industry," said John Cascamo, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development.

Cascamo says changes in the economy have put a greater focus on shorter term degrees and programs.

"The economic forecast is telling us the majority of jobs that are going to be created in California and nationwide are going to require less than a four year degree, but they will require specific training," said Cascamo.

He says Cuesta College has had an increase in the number of students who have received a bachelor's degree or higher who haven't found a job and come back to be trained in a different field.

"Our programs are often aligned with industry, so that people can have something when they leave that is recognized by industry and often puts them at a very good rate of pay," said Cascamo.

Cascamo says many students are achieving these types of goals with shorter programs.

"These are the must-have tools in order to break into the field and be able to be successful at your job," said Johnson.

Click here to learn more about Cuesta College's Career Technical Education.

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