Cedar Valley Students Apply Job Experience For College Credit

Cedar Valley college students apply job experience for college credit
Dr. Diane Minger, program coordinator at Cedar Valley College

Cedar Valley College Students Earn Credit For Jobs

LANCASTER—The Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) has been working with people to use their job experience in combination with their education to make advancements in their careers.

David Rubio, a student at Cedar Valley College (a unit of DCCCD), said he is studying and working his way toward a career in the aviation industry, but he’s had to make some sacrifices in his personal life. Rubio, who is studying management, said he works full time, goes to school after work, and then drives home late in the evening. That schedule does not leave much family time, he said.

“My weekends are super-compact,” said Rubio. “I have to do all the household chores on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s a tradeoff, but I’m happy to do it. I’m accomplishing something. When I see my GPA and the credits I have earned, it makes it all worth it. I’m accomplishing something and making something out of my life – I’m not just watching TV!”

Rubio, who works as a mortgage loan resolution officer, said he loves airplanes and hopes that a management degree will propel him to a bachelor’s degree and eventually to a career in aircraft management.

Have a job? Become a manager.

Dr. Diane Minger, program coordinator for management at Cedar Valley College, said the management program in the Dallas County Community College District is unique because it allows students to earn college credits for their jobs. She added that students must have a job in order to enroll in the program, and if they’re not employed, the college can help them find a job.

“The program is not industry-specific,” Minger said. “Management cuts across all fields because every industry uses managers. Managerial skills are transferable because students learn leadership, problem-solving, decision-making, planning and many other abilities.”

Gemmy Allen, management faculty at the North Lake College branch of DCCCD, said most people who enroll in the program already have been employed for several years, and they know they will not get a promotion without a credential such as an associate degree.

“We call it cooperative education,” said Allen. “The student works with faculty and the supervisor in the workplace to come up with a project. Then the student’s supervisor evaluates that project, but the faculty member assigns the grade.”

Management skills increase job potential
Bill Mynar, who works in a Dallas-based manufacturing company as a procedure writer and supervisor, said the program already has taught him valuable skills at his job.

“I take the lessons from class and use them directly in my job. I have learned time-management skills and how to deal with certain people,” Mynar said. “The program puts you in real-life situations so that you can take what you learn and use it in life and work. It’s practical knowledge.”

Mynar and Rubio can expect to do well after they finish their degrees. According to data from EMSI, a Dallas-based economic data consulting firm, more than 3,500 management occupations are projected to be added in the Dallas-Fort Worth area between 2016 and 2017.

In addition, North Texas experienced a 3.6 percent job growth rate in management occupations from 2015 to 2016. That’s better than the national rate of 2 percent.

Allen said many of the students she teaches already have taken some college but didn’t graduate. “Life gets in the way for many of them,” she said.

Mynar, who is 42, said he started his college career somewhat late in life and is now juggling a full-time job and a family, including a set of twins. He said the program’s online aspect has helped him with his tight schedule.

“But what I’ve liked the most is the co-op,” Mynar stated. “I like meeting with other students on Saturdays for a few hours and interacting with them. It’s an environment that is really supportive, and everybody is pulling for each other to really succeed.”

Moving ahead
Mynar said he’s planning to get a bachelor’s degree after he finishes the program and eventually move from his supervisory position into management at his company.

Rubio said he hopes to enroll directly in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to earn a four-year degree. “I love aircraft, and this management degree will help me move along and get into the aviation industry,” he added.

Minger said Cedar Valley College students in the program learn “hard and soft skills, such as understanding spreadsheets, balance sheets and income statements. In addition, they learn how to communicate well, articulate ideas and deal with employees.”

For more information about the management program at DCCCD, please email Dr. Diane Minger at dminger@dcccd.edu.