More people turning to trade schools for job training

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - From curling hair to caring for cuticles, it seems more students are turning to trade schools to get hands-on lessons and pick up new skills.  At Chris' Beauty College in Gulfport, the enrollment has doubled during what's usually a slow summer.

"Normally we would only start six or seven students during July.  We're starting at 11 and 12.  August classes are already full to 25 and things are looking up," said Tammy Lee, Education Director for the school.

And some of the students are older. Take 46-year old Gayle Barnett for example. She started her Nail Tech class a week ago.  After years of teaching and working for a healthcare consulting firm, Barnett was ready for a career change.

"The older you get and everything, it's kind of harder to find a job, especially in a bad economy," said Barnett.  "I want to do something that's more flexible, where I have more flexibility and everything, and where I'm pretty much my own boss."

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College also reports a jump in enrollment, especially in career and technical programs.

"When unemployment goes up, our enrollment generally goes up as well," said Elaine Davis, a Special Projects Counselor for MGCCC. "I think a lot of that is adult students who have either been displaced or laid off, and are looking to come back for some sort of shorter term training."

The training can give the students more marketable skills so they can hopefully land a stable job.

"I think right now with the economy the way it is, people are being laid off jobs and it's giving them the opportunity to do something they've always wanted to do, but never been able to do before," said Lee.

To help boost enrollment and retrain people for jobs of the future, President Barack Obama wants to invest $12 billion in community colleges across the country.

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