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Good news for the economy: It's National Career and Technical Education Month


In February, Edmonds Community College will hold free information sessions about many career-training programs. Find out more about careers in: allied health, 6-7:30 p.m., Wed., Feb. 4 in Snohomish Hall 304A; paralegal and social and human services careers, Wed., Feb. 11, 6-7:30 p.m. in Snohomish Hall 304. And many more career training programs: 6-7:30 p.m., Feb. 17-19 . Call 425.640.1421 or go to

A tour of the lab in Monroe Hall convinced Joe Walters to retrain for a job in materials science.

Bleak news about the job market made headlines at the end of January. With the state’s jobless rate already at 7 percent, Boeing, Microsoft, and Starbucks announced layoffs of thousands of employees.

With so many people looking for ways to get back to work, National Career and Technical Education Month couldn’t come at a better time. As CNN reported, “Landing a new job in this withering economy may require a stop in school first.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18 of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the next decade will require career and technical education.

In February, Edmonds Community College will hold free information sessions 6-7:30 p.m., Feb. 17-19 about many career-training programs. The sessions will provide more information about opportunities such as:

  • retraining quickly for jobs in fields that are hiring now such as early childhood education and health care;
  • making career choices in newer fields workers may not be familiar with such as materials science and eco-tourism and sustainability;
  • getting ready for jobs that will open up when the economy rebounds in new green collar careers;
  • completing short-term certificates in a year or less or earning a two-year degree that may be the first step to both a higher paying job now and a bachelor’s degree in the future.
While retraining takes time, the good news is it works. New skills can also lead to higher wages. In the last economic downturn 2002-03, 17,000 laid-off workers in Washington state turned to community and technical colleges for retraining. Within a few months of completing college, 80 percent of these workers had returned to employment and nearly half of those were hired into jobs that paid higher wages than the jobs they lost.

Already more workers are coming to Edmonds Community College to take advantage of its worker-retraining program, which provides free tuition and books to laid-off workers. There are currently 300 students, 61 percent more than a year ago, enrolled in the program.

Joe Walters entered the program after he injured his back on the job as a phone cable installer. Unable to return to the physical work, he needed to learn new skills for a new career. A tour of the Materials Science lab at Edmonds Community College, introduced him to a new opportunity in aircraft manufacturing.

Walters is now working toward his two-year degree in Materials Science Technology and gaining the skills to work as a technician. “What I am learning is new and interesting,” he said. “I enjoy the hands-on labs, which reinforce the ideas presented in lecture.” He’d like to help test the performance of aircraft materials under extreme conditions.

Edmonds Community College provides training in fields that meet the demand of employers, create opportunities for individuals, and help speed Washington state’s economic recovery. Local employers advise the college as it develops new, responsive curriculum and training programs. The college’s materials science classes, allied health care certificates, and Restoration Horticulture degree are just a few examples.

To find out more about career-training opportunities at Edmonds Community College, the public is invited to attend upcoming information sessions. Learn about careers in:

  • early childhood education, 6-7:30 p.m., Tues., Feb. 17, in Snohomish Hall 304B;
  • family support studies or occupational safety and health, 6-7:30 p.m., Wed., Feb. 18 Snohomish Hall 304;
  • computer science, information technology, and electronics, networks and robotics, 6-7:30 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 19, Snohomish Hall 110; and
  • accounting, business, construction, culinary arts, eco-tourism and sustainability, horticulture, hospitality, materials science, visual communications and office administration, 6-7:30 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 19, Snohomish Hall 304.

To find out more about worker retraining, call 425.640.1433, email or go to Association for Career and Technical Education’s National Career and Technical Education month kicks off with National Job Shadow Day on

Feb. 4 and will conclude with National Entrepreneurship Week USA, February 21-28.

CNN: Going back to school to get a job

“Landing a new job in this withering economy may require a stop in school first.”

Find out more

Career-training opportunities at Edmonds Community College

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