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      Community Colleges - Pt. 3

      We've shown you how much enrollment has increased and who's contributing to the growing trend at community colleges, but what programs are most popular?

      With the economy the way it is, is the demand out there for those getting degrees? Experts say yes, especially in some fields.

      Occupational programs at Bay College, like nursing, are growing in popularity. Officials say that program has been filled every year since 2005.

      Gogebic Community College currently has 310 students enrolled in their nursing program; that TMs up about 25 percent over last year. And those getting degrees can probably rest easy because national experts project between 2006 and 2016, the need for nurses will jump 23 percent.

      "Our aging population is really a factor in terms of health care needs," explained a member of the Regional Skills Alliance with Michigan Works, Lanna Scannell. "As our population ages and people have continued health needs and more chronic health care needs, there's more demand than ever for nurses, RNs, LPNs, certified nurse TMs aides. It's just a really growing field."

      Besides nursing other occupational programs, like welding, will also see an increase in demand. National stats show about a five percent increase in demand over the next few years.

      Local colleges, like Bay, have seen an increase in interest in this type of field. Overall, officials say they've seen a 28 percent increase in all occupational areas.

      "Just over 2,700 students at Bay College and 1,500 of them are enrolled in the occupational programs," said Director of Admissions, Cindy Carter. "Occupational programs are defined as one year certificates or a two-year associate TMs degree, but have the training component, on the job training, retraining skills to enter the workforce, hands-on type of programs."

      Gogebic Community College also saw their occupational programs rise about 100 students this year. The demand is out there and community colleges, both across the nation and here in the U.P., are rising to meet that demand.