The Austin Community College District (ACC) celebrated its summer and fall graduates during commencement on Thursday, December 10, at the Frank Erwin Center (1701 Red River St.).
More than 2,300 students were invited to walk including a growing number of bachelor-degree holding students who returned to college at ACC to earn new and additional workforce credentials.
“This moment will resonate with these students and their families for the rest of their lives. It’s incredible to see the pride in their faces,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president and CEO. “For many of these students they’re the first in their families to go to college and now they’re graduating. Others came here with a degree already in hand, but a dream to do even more. We’re celebrating all of their accomplishments.”
The associate degree is the fastest-growing workplace credential. Nationwide, one out of every 14 community college students has already earned a bachelor’s degree. This fall, 7.1 percent of the students enrolled at ACC held a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Veronica Betts graduated with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University in fall 2013, but struggled to find a job.
“When I went for job interviews I found that I lacked some of the skills employers wanted. They wanted someone familiar with computer-aided design (CAD). After six months without a job I realized that I needed to go back to school,” says Betts. “ACC has one of the best CAD programs in the country. I enrolled for a chance to start over.”
Betts joined other ACC December graduates, earning her associate degree in CAD with a mechanical specialization.
“This program has given me the skills sets I need to get a job,” says Betts. “I got hands-on training with the exact programs I’ll use in the workforce. The experience is invaluable.”
“Students with bachelor degrees enroll in our program to broaden their job opportunities or to jump start a new career in Austin’s high-tech job market,” says Doug Smith, ACC Architectural and Engineering Computer Aided Design department chair. “Our program compliments the training they already completed.”
Along with the college’s CAD program, enrollment among bachelor-degree holding students has grown in biotechnology, computer programming, and health-sciences disciplines.
For more information about ACC programs visit austincc.edu/degrees-and-certificates. Enrollment for spring is underway now at austincc.edu/spring.
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