Johnson College has record-setting enrollment over standard colleges in Scranton

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WRBE/WYOU) — Trade schools are seeing an increase in enrollment over college and universities. With an increase in skilled jobs, many are turning to a shorter education.

Johnson College announced record-setting enrollment for three years in a row.

Samuel DeLeon of Monroe County is a first-year carpentry student who made the decision to go to Johnson College instead of getting a four-year degree.

“Shorter, but it’s also cramming a lot more,” said DeLeon. “But more specifically towards your major, not necessarily any unnecessary classes.”

540 first and second-year students look to fill today’s skilled job openings, such as welding, carpentry, health, and animal sciences.

“I took a gap year to figure out what I really wanted to do and when I found carpentry and just trade school in general, I thought it was perfect,” DeLeon said.

“I know if I went to a trade school I would find work. I would find jobs,” explained first-year carpentry student, Xiara Figueroa. “And it’s two years! So, it’s less time spent, less money spent, and you get a job quicker.”

Figueroa tells Eyewitness News she too found a trade to her liking.

“I was going to do HVAC, but you just fix stuff. Carpentry there are so many other mediums, you can make stuff, you can create stuff, you can put your own little twist to it,” Figueroa said.

Johnson College offers 17 associate programs and three, one-year academic certificates.

“I think when you see all the job demand out there and you see that you can get that training right from home, I think we’ve started to see an uptick in just the general interest overall,” said Bill Burke, Vice President of Student and Academic affairs.

Burke says COVID has played a role in enrollment with non-traditional-age students finding new career paths.

“We continue to see the non-traditional student population as well as that traditional student population because they see these jobs as secure, even life-sustaining,” said Burke. “Employers seek future employees at Johnson College, with some students getting a job before graduating.

Johnson College is also looking to add two additional associate programs and one more academic certificate.

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