Trade schools and community colleges see increase in applicants

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Trade schools and community colleges in Alabama are seeing a surge in applications this fall as many of the new students have been forced out of their old jobs and are seeking new skills to fit into the job market.

This is enrollment week at Jefferson State Community College and like many trade schools and 2-year schools, the line to sign up is long.

"We are seeing a number of students that are in their 30's, 35 in that area, age bracket that they are retooling," said Joseph Mitchell, a culinary instructor at Jeff State. "They've had jobs that have gone away, and they're looking for some new skills."

Jeff State won't have hard numbers on enrollment until next week, but instructors are expecting a jump in enrollment as students try to retrain for the careers that are hiring like culinary arts and nursing, or hedge their bets on their current job.

"I'm really happy where I am, but I always want to have something to fall back on," said Tommie Long, a Jeff State Nursing student. "And nursing is what that will be. Nursing is always growing."

"Students need to mentally know that this is what they want to do, they need to be passionate about this," Mitchell said. "It is a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work, but the beauty of it is they truly can be successful if they're willing to work hard."

FOX6 News tried to reach Herzing College and Virginia College to check on their enrollment numbers but were unable to reach them for comment. Jeff State's enrollment continues through this week for the fall semester.