Train Your Mind (and Your Skills Will Follow)

Funky learning circumstances haven’t stifled workforce development programs

Remote learning requirements in a number of states haven’t prevented many American community colleges from developing ad hoc, technician-type training programs for their students. In fact, workforce development programs are on the rise, according to recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The NCES’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) shows that vocational education—which saw a significant spike in the early 90s—has continued to yield positive results. Between 2000 and 2018, total undergraduate enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 26 percent (from 13.2 million to 16.6 million students). By 2029, total undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase to 17.0 million students.

With that in mind, there’s a high probability of a training program in your area. Some of these offer partial tuition payments, like New River Community College in Virginia. That institution’s “FastForward” program (Editor’s Note: We fully endorse this program title :)) allows most students to pay only one-third of the normal cost of training. Pending availability of state funds, students can even use FANTIC funds to help cover the first one-third if necessary.

FANTIC (Financial Aid for Noncredit Training Leading to Industry Credentials) provides funding for students who can show financial need and who are enrolled in one of NRCC’s FastForward short-term career training programs. FANTIC funding is limited and is offered to students on a first-come, first-served basis. Students are expected to attend and participate in all classes and pass certification requirements/testing in order to complete the program.

One “name-brand” program to consider is Lincoln Tech, which encompasses a wide range of curriculums and geography. Lincoln has over 20 campuses across the United States, each featuring select programs, including auto, diesel, electrical/electronics, machining, manufacturing, HVAC, welding, healthcare, cosmetology or culinary arts; and awards an average of $14 million in grants and scholarships to qualified students nationally.

To find a trade school near you, we suggest using the NCES’ College Navigator.

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