Short-term Training Can Lead to Technology Jobs without College Degrees

Some American states are making money available for high school graduate so they can learn skills to help them get technology jobs without a college degree.

One example is the northeastern state of Connecticut. It has invested $70 million to put young people and adults through short-term training programs that can lead to good paying technology jobs.

Some states see such programs as a good solution as college costs keep rising and businesses have trouble finding skilled technology workers.

The programs are known as “nondegree skills training.” They have helped people like Mohameth Seck, who left college after two years. Seck said he wanted to work in technology but the classes he was offered in a traditional college program “weren’t really interesting” to him. He also said traditional college takes too long to finish.

So Seck decided to enter a one-year computer training program run by a nonprofit organization. Today, the 25-year-old teaches computer coding at a skills training center, or academy, in Stamford, Connecticut. Seck said friends who finished the program also have good jobs.

The company Opportunity@Work looks to help people who do not have skills gained in college find good jobs.

The company [email protected] looks to help people who do not have skills gained in college find good jobs.

The academy where Seck teaches is operated by a company called Synchrony. The instructors teach classes in website design, management and other important subjects to current high school students and recent high school graduates.

Nicole Samaniego is one of the students. She told online publication The Hechinger Report that at first, she wanted to study a form of engineering. But after taking classes at the academy, she had other ideas. “After doing this program for almost five months now, I saw that I wanted to change my career,” she said.

When she starts school at the University of Connecticut later this month, she will center her studies on computer science. For students who do not plan to attend college, the academy offers job search assistance.

Niall Dammando is a leader in Connecticut’s office of workforce strategy. He said academies like the one run by Synchrony can help a state’s finances. This is because skilled technology workers are likely to make more money and pay more state taxes. Dammando said this is a real incentive for the state to get workers into higher paying jobs.

Bridgette Gray works for a nonprofit called [email protected] It seeks to get employers to hire people who do not have college degrees. Gray said her own son left college after one school term and took classes with a group called Per Scholas that offers technology training both online and throughout the US She said her son now earns more than $90,000 a year at the age of 27.

Research carried out by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce showed that people who do get a college degree earn about 84 percent more over their lifetimes. But not everyone can get into, pay for or do well in college.

David Soo leads an organization called Jobs for the Future. He said the college model that has been in place for the last 40 years does not work for everyone. And this is especially true for students who are Black, Hispanic or whose families do not make a lot of money. “We need to find a better way to serve those students,” Soo said.

Brad Hershbein, with the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, agrees. In the past, he said, employers would take inexperienced workers and then train them for better jobs as they got older. But at some point, that model became costly and businesses decided to depend on colleges to provide that kind of training.

But now, many businesses are in great need of trained workers. To fill that need, some companies are creating their own academies or hiring students from places like Synchrony. Large technology companies like IBM and Google have started their own programs because they can train workers faster than universities.

Recently, however, some businesses have been reducing the number of their employees because of worries about an economic slowdown. Among technology companies announcing job cuts are Robinhood, Oracle, Shopify, SoundCloud, Netflix and Coinbase.

An employee of the Coinbase celebrates the cryptocurrency exchange company's stock offering in 2021. Just more than one year later, the company is reducing its staff because it expects an economic slowdown.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

An employee of the Coinbase celebrates the cryptocurrency exchange company’s stock offering in 2021. Just more than one year later, the company is reducing its staff because it expects an economic slowdown. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Such job cuts lead to more people seeking employment. As a result, industry experts say when a company considers hiring two people with the same skills, the one with a college degree is more likely to get the job.

Anthony Carnevale is the leader of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. He said that while job training is good, it is not 100 percent correct to tell people they cannot benefits from a college degree.

One reason companies might hire college graduates is because they think they might have better communication and teamwork skills.

To make up for that, one job training nonprofit called YearUp is seeking to provide that kind of instruction as well. Gerald Chertavian, who leads the organization, said YearUp includes training on how people can succeed in office environments, rather than just teaching how to write code or design websites.

In the end, even the experts who say it is good to get a college degree recognize that there might be reasons not to go to college. “The best outcome is that people have choices,” said Georgetown’s Carnevale. “And that we ensure that all the choices lead to a good job.”

I’m Bryan Lynn.

And I’m Faith Pirlo.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on a story by the Hechinger Reporta nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

Short-term Training Can Lead to Technology Jobs without College Degrees

Short-term Training Can Lead to Technology Jobs without College Degrees

Start the Quiz to find out

____________________________________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

graduate– n. a person who has finished a period of school such as high school or college

degree –n. a document that shows a person has finished a period of school

strategy –n. a careful plan to complete something or achieve a goal over a period of time

incentive –n. something that makes a person want to take on a task or project

benefits –n. a good result or effect

ensure –v. to make sure something happens

__________________________________________________________________

What do you think of the students who choose not to go to college? We want to hear from you.

We have a new comment system. Here is how it works:

Write your comment in the box.

Under the box, you can see four images for social media accounts. They are for Disqus, Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Click on one image and a box appears. Enter the login for your social media account. Or you may create one on the Disqus system. It is the blue circle with “D” on it. It is free.

Each time you return to comment on the Learning English site, you can use your account and see your comments and replies to them. Our comment policy is here.