Three weeks ago, I wrote a story headlined “Three lucrative STEM jobs that require 2 years of college at most.” It was based on the keynote address Cindy Moss, the senior director of global STEM initiatives for Discovery Education, delivered to approximately 220 educators at the inaugural Phenix City STEMposium in the Courtyard by Marriott Riverfront hotel.
STEM, by the way, is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.
The story listed the following jobs:
▪ Mechatronics technician, who is trained in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science.
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▪ Surgical technologist, who prepares an operating room, passes instruments, fluids and supplies to the surgeon and maintains equipment.
▪ Car mechanic or technician, who could work on automobiles ranging from your neighbor’s jalopy to your favorite NASCAR driver’s zooming machine.
Two weeks later, Columbus Technical College President Lorette Hoover emailed me about the article. She wants to ensure Ledger-Enquirer readers are aware that Columbus Tech “has all these programs and more. … More than 90 career programs.”
Among them, she explained, Columbus Tech offers a certificate, diploma and associate’s degree in mechatronics “that leads to apprenticeships while in school and great careers upon graduation.”
Columbus Tech also offers an associate degree in surgical technology, “where we have had 100 percent pass rates on the national licensure exam for about a decade,” Hoover said.
And to become a car mechanic or technician, Columbus Tech can help you along that path as well, offering ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) and I-CAR (Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair) programs for a certificate, diploma or degree. Those graduates, Hoover said, “are highly sought after.”
In fact, Hoover noted, Columbus Tech’s overall job placement rate for its graduates is 97.1 percent.
Oh, and thanks to the HOPE Scholarship and HOPE Grant from the Georgia Student Finance Commission, Columbus Tech students can earn these certificates, diplomas or degrees with debt-free financial aid. The HOPE scholarship and HOPE Grant cover 73 percent of tuition, Hoover said, and the HOPE Career Grant covers 100 percent of tuition plus $500 for fees.
“Most students only pay $26 per semester,” she said.
Federal financial aid, in the form of a Pell Grant, can award a college student $5,800 per year, which doesn’t have to be repaid, Hoover said.
“CTC does not offer college loans as most students can afford the $89 per credit hour and $325 in fees per semester that is covered by financial aid,” Hoover wrote. “For less than $2,700 in tuition and fees, a student can earn an associate’s degree and be primed for one of those great paying careers!!”
As you can see from her two exclamation points, Hoover is excited about Columbus Tech’s ability to help folks become successful and productive citizens.
But that’s not all. Columbus Tech can provide that boost even before the traditional college age. Through the state’s Move on When Ready program, Georgia high school juniors and seniors, including home-schoolers, can be full-time college students at no charge (free tuition, fees, books, etc.) and still graduate high school on time, Hoover said.
“Many thanks for promoting careers that don’t require a bachelor’s degree – but if you wanted to pursue a bachelor’s degree, all of CTC’s courses transfer,” Hoover wrote.
She added, “I’m using a little shameless self-promotion – hope you don’t mind.”
Mind? Not at all. Your email isn’t shameless self-promotion; it’s mighty useful info for the Ledger-Enquirer’s readers.
Hoover concluded, “Perhaps a follow-up article would be a good idea?”
Yes, ma’am — a good idea indeed. So thanks for helping me write it, and thanks for helping to educate our community.