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2018-6-18

An Alternative to the Traditional Four-Year Plan

By Dr. Al Roberts

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the number of bachelor degrees conferred in the U.S. has increased by 125% since the early 1970s. A large part of the reason is the encouragement high school students receive from parents and guidance counselors to pursue a college education.

Getting a bachelor’s or advanced academic or professional degree is good advice for many students, but like a lot of other things, one size does not fit all. Going to a four-year college without a clear plan is an increasingly expensive proposition, and students’ choices can dramatically impact the financial rewards associated with degree attainment. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce studied the difference in potential income based on a student’s major. Results were made available in a May 2011 publication, “What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors.” Findings demonstrated that bachelor degree holders who were employed full time earned annual salaries that ranged from $29,000 for students who had majored in Counseling Psychology to $120,000 for Petroleum Engineers.

In writing “High-Paying Jobs Go Begging while High School Grads Line Up for Bachelor’s Degrees,” for the Hechinger Report in April 2018, higher-education editor Jon Marcus reported, “The financial return from a bachelor’s degree is softening, even as the price—and the average debt into which it plunges students—keeps going up.”

At the same time, because so many young people are encouraged to pursue four-year degrees, employers now face shortages of qualified applicants for skilled jobs in professions such as nursing, welding, power line work, industrial maintenance, automotive repair, and advanced manufacturing. Compounding the situation is the fact that in many skilled trades, craft workers are older than their counterparts in other fields. Anticipated retirements are expected to exacerbate worker shortages.

Community colleges stand poised to provide a solution. Marcus’s research revealed that, “A shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades.” He added, “It’s not that finding a job in the trades, or even manufacturing, means needing no education after high school. Most regulators and employers require certificates, certifications, or associate degrees. But those cost less and take less time than earning a bachelor’s degree.”

The potential rewards are significant. An updated report issued last year from The Center on Education and the Workforce last year, stated “There are 30 million good jobs in the United States today that pay without a BA (bachelor’s degree). These good jobs have median earnings of $55,000 annually.”

For more information about the variety of opportunities afforded by a community college education, please visit southside.edu or call SVCC at 434-949-1000. Counselors can answer your questions about career pathways and programs designed to help you reach your goals.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

June Declared Virginia Berry Month


 

June has been officially recognized as Virginia Berry Month. On June 7, a formal proclamation issued by Governor Ralph Northam was read aloud by Bettina Ring, Virginia secretary of agriculture and forestry, at the USDA Field Day held at Virginia State University’s (VSU) Randolph Farm.

 

Hundreds of berry farms across the state grow strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. More than 6 million pounds of berries are produced each year, which have an estimated value of $8 million in farm income.

 

“This recognition is important for Virginia’s berry growers,” said Dr. Reza Rafie, horticulture Extension specialist at VSU. “Berry growers across the commonwealth work earnestly to grow robust, tasty and nutritious berries for consumers. To have this recognition from the governor is incredible.”

 

The proclamation declared, “Virginia Berry Month recognizes berry producers’ stewardship of Virginia’s farmland, their positive environmental and economic impacts, and appreciates the social and cultural significance that berry production provides to the Commonwealth.”

 

You can read the proclamation at: https://bit.ly/2MqgvTw

 

Founded in 1882, Virginia State University is one of Virginia’s two land-grant institutions and is located 20 minutes south of Richmond in the village of Ettrick.

Corey Jacob Williams Named to the Dean’s List at Hampden-Sydney College

Hampden-Sydney, VA - Corey, a student at Hampden-Sydney College, was named to the Dean’s List for the spring semester of the 2017-2018 academic year. To earn this distinction, students must achieve at least a 3.3 semester grade point average out of a possible 4.0.

Corey is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stuart W. Williams of Emporia, VA.

FREE VETERANS LEGAL CLINIC TO BE HELD IN PETERSBURG IN JULY

~ July 10th event at Petersburg Freedom Support Center to include free powers of attorney, wills, and advance medical directives for veterans, as well as benefits information sessions from DVS ~

PORTSMOUTH (June 15, 2018) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced today at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of VirginiaAnnual State Convention that the next pro bono Veterans Legal Services Clinic will take place July 10 in Petersburg at the Petersburg Freedom Support Center, located at 32 West Washington Street, Petersburg, Virginia 23803.
 
During the daylong event, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) and the Virginia State Bar (VSB), volunteer attorneys from Attorney General Herring's office and the VSB will serve low-income veterans by drafting important estate planning documents like wills, powers of attorney and advance medical directives. Representatives from DVS will also be present to answer questions regarding state and federal benefits that may be available to Virginia veterans including health benefits, disability benefits, financial services, education benefits, burial in a Virginia or United States veterans cemetery, and more.
 
Qualified veterans can sign up on Attorney General Herring’s website at their local DVS Benefits Services Field Office, or by completing and mailing an application to the Attorney General's office. 
 
“The legal services these clinics provide are very important, but they can often be too expensive for a veteran who may be retired or on a fixed income,” said Attorney General Herring. “I have had the opportunity to visit clinics that we have held across the Commonwealth where we have been able to serve more than 185 veterans and their spouses. It has been so rewarding to witness the peace of mind we have provided these men and women who have given so much to Virginia and our country. This has been a rewarding partnership with the Department of Veterans Services and the State Bar, and I look forward to growing the program even more in the months and years ahead.”
 
Attorney General Herring, DVS, and VSB have held eight pro bono Veterans Legal Services Clinics, serving more than 185 veterans and their spouses in Hampton Roads, Roanoke, Richmond, Lynchburg, Annandale, and Petersburg.
 
Clinics provide qualified veterans and their spouses with simple wills, powers of attorneys, and advance medical directives, including notary services, during the one hour time slots which will be filled on a "first-come, first-served basis." In order to be eligible for services, veterans and their spouses must fill out anintake questionnaire on Attorney General Herring's website or at their local Virginia Department of Veterans Services Benefits Center. Because participants must collect information and make significant decisions prior to the clinic, walkups cannot be accepted.
 
Additional details including qualifications and sign up links can be found here: https://oag.state.va.us/programs-initiatives/veterans-assistance-resources.

 

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