More turn to vocational training schools prepare for lucrative careers to avoid huge student loan debt

Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 7:31 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - In just weeks the college semester will begin, but some are opting not to take the four-year route to eventually land a career.

Traditional colleges are getting some stiff competition from Vocational centers, which are seeing their numbers rise.

SummerFest at Hinds Community College Jackson Academic Technical Center welcomed potential students to learn about vocational training.

“We were hoping to encourage our community’s future students to come and see what Hinds has to offer,” said Anita Bell-Muhammad with the Hinds Community College Jackson Academic/Technical Center.

The school offers 70 career tech programs ranging from welding, barber, cosmetology, and HVAC to logistics technology. Skilled training that offers careers at the completion of the courses.

“Those programs are catered toward getting students from the classroom into the workforce,” said Bell-Muhammad. “We have built great relationships with network institutions where not only do they have apprenticeships they’re almost guaranteed a position when they finish.”

The event attracted attendees ranging from high school graduates to adults looking to change careers.

“I wanted to give it another go,” said Erica Harmon.

She was there to find out about careers in medicine. The 34-year-old has a culinary arts degree and wants to avoid expensive student loans.

“Nobody wants to be in debt,” said Harmon. “It’s hard getting out of those situations and actually I’ve already paid off my student loans one time.”

Students who qualify for vocational education may also qualify for financial aid.

“It’s a lot easier for you to be able to obtain a sustainable wage versus having to spend four years if you are not afforded those four years,” added Bell-Muhammad.

Classes begin on August 15.

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