When talking about a student’s next-steps after high school, the conversations often starts with talk of college. For some students, the talk stops there. For a variety of reasons, many students are not interested in pursuing a two- or four-year degree at a college or university.
Instead, many students feel ready to jump into the workforce. Certainly, the appeal of independence and regular paychecks are inviting for young people. But, transitioning directly into the workforce without any additional education or training can be limiting in the long term.
An alternative to both a degree program and workforce entry with a high school diploma is a certificate program. Certificates, the second most common post-secondary awards, indicate that the holder has completed a specialized program with a limited number of focused, career-oriented courses.
Our Community College System of New Hampshire offers a broad array of certificate programs to support entry into the workforce with focused, advanced education beyond high school. I encourage our Pittsfield students (and their parents) to take some time to explore the offerings of our community colleges (www.ccsnh.edu).
The range of offerings is amazing and includes certificates in areas such as advanced automotive, wedding planning management, massage, electrical line worker, small business management, library technology, robotics, hotel and restaurant management, early childhood education, fire science, mental health support worker, welding technology, culinary arts, commercial driver training, sign language, bookkeeping, motor cycle maintenance and repair, personal training, heating services, and veterinary practice management, among many, many others (www.ccsnh.edu/academics/programs).
All told, our Community College System offers more than 200 certificate and degree programs which 28,000 students (93% of whom are New Hampshire residents) take advantage of annually.
Recently, I toured Manchester Community College and came away very impressed with both the facilities and opportunities for students. For example, their automotive technology programs are offered in state-of-the-art labs (not yet one year old) and provide internships at the region’s auto dealerships, as well as competitions that provide scholarship awards to high-performing students.
It’s never too early to begin planning for the future. And, it’s a good idea to plan for the long-term when looking toward high school graduation. Traditional colleges don’t serve everyone’s interests or needs; certificate programs at our community colleges provide young people with focused learning which lead to well-paying careers.