PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) offers programs to prepare people to reply to nearly all of the top jobs employers are advertising in southwestern Pennsylvania. A recent report by the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (TRWIB) analyzed the trend in the number of online job postings during the last five years and identified the top career fields.
Stefani Pashman, CEO of TRWIB, said the organization conducted the study “to highlight our region’s imbalance between the skills of our available job seekers and what employers are demanding. We appreciate CCAC’s partnership; their willingness to align programs with the knowledge and skills our employers seek will help close this gap.”
The top occupational clusters in the study, representing 50 percent of the posted jobs, are Management; Computer and Mathematical; Sales and Related; Office and Administrative Support; and Healthcare Practitioners and Technical. Average annual wages for these fields are well above the $28,500 considered to be a family-sustaining wage.
Top occupations include Nursing Aides and Orderlies; Retail Salespersons; Registered Nurses; Customer Service Representatives; and Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers.
Currently, more than 30,000 jobs are advertised in online forums for Allegheny County and six surrounding counties. Despite the number of opportunities, there are about 2.5 unemployed people for every posted job.
“Employers report that a lack of suitable skills is the biggest hurdle to filling these open positions,” said Charles Blocksidge, PhD, executive director of the CCAC–Allegheny County Workforce Alliance. “More than 60 percent of the posted jobs require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. Thankfully, CCAC provides affordable access to the necessary training for the top occupational clusters and jobs, from short-term certificates—some as fast as 24 days—to nationally recognized associate’s degrees.”
The Nursing program at CCAC is well recognized in the region and nationally. In fact, CCAC awards the second-highest number of associate’s degrees in nursing among all two-year colleges in the country.
Many of the short-term programs at CCAC attract individuals from a variety of backgrounds. “Adding skills to supplement existing experience and education is a wise move in a difficult job market,” said Judy Savolskis, CCAC interim vice president for workforce development. “In fact, we enroll many people with bachelor’s or even master’s degrees who are seeking that extra edge in a job search or are looking to move up the career ladder.”
CCAC offers a Project Management Boot Camp to help individuals develop the skills needed to manage projects across industries, in fields ranging from information technology to sales to healthcare.
CCAC’s Nurse Aide Training program boasts a 95 percent pass rate on the state certification examination. The program ranges from eight weeks to an intensive 24-day curriculum, with tuition-free options for veterans, laid-off workers and other qualifying individuals.
A total of eight certificate programs are participating in the Dislocated Worker Tuition Waiver this spring. Laid-off Allegheny County residents who attend CCAC within one year of their layoff can be eligible for the waiver of tuition and fees. Besides Nurse Aide Training, the other programs include Accounting, Administrative Computer Specialist, Automotive Technology, Basic Computer-Aided Drafting, Business Management, Early Education and Child Development, Information Technology Support and Nurse Aide Training.
An online Health Information Technology program, preparing professionals for careers helping with the shift to electronic medical records, is also offered tuition-free through a partnership with Tidewater Community College in Virginia that is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition, CCAC’s accredited associate’s degree programs provide an affordable foundation for many of the top fields in the TRWIB study, from computer information technology to administrative assistant to several management programs. At just $85.25 per credit, the cost of a CCAC education comes in an average of $19,000 less than two years at a local public college and $47,000 less than a private college. And with agreements making transfer easy in 64 programs at 22 colleges and universities, CCAC can be a valuable first step to additional degrees.
For more information about these and other programs, visit www.ccac.edu or call 412.237.3100. Registration is still open for the spring term, with classes beginning January 10.
For a full copy of the TRWIB report, visit www.trwib.org.
The Community College of Allegheny County is the largest institution of postsecondary higher education in Pennsylvania. The college serves 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and certificate programs and offers thousands of lifelong learning non-credit and workforce development courses to 35,000 students annually. Incorporating a learning-centered environment committed to the future of the region, CCAC continues to expand its reach through innovative programming and accessible instruction offered via convenient day, evening, weekend and online courses. With four campuses and six centers serving Allegheny County and surrounding communities, CCAC endeavors to fulfill its mission to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society.