Community college programs in career and technical education — especially in health professions — lead to significant financial returns, especially for women, according to a new policy brief by the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research.
The policy brief summarizes a new study that measured how much a California community college degree, or certificate in the six largest career and technical education disciplines, increased income. The researchers found that on average, an associate’s degree in these fields increased earnings by 33 percent, and shorter term certificates raised earnings by up to 27 percent.
“Understanding the payoffs to completing these programs is particularly important in California, where two-thirds of all college students attend a community college,” said Ann Stevens, the brief’s co-author. Stevens is an economist and the director of the Center for Poverty Research. The brief’s other co-authors are Michal Kurlaender, an associate professor at the School of Education, and Michel Grosz, a Ph.D. candidate in economics.
“Declining real wages and record high unemployment for those without college degrees make it essential that we understand what programs can most benefit these workers,” said Stevens.