By: CCAPS Dean Bob Stine
You don’t have to look far to find information supporting the value of learning during our lifetimes. For starters, it has huge financial benefits. In 2017 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that median annual earnings of full-time workers with a high school diploma was about $37,000, compared to $62,000 for those with a bachelor’s degree and $75,000 for workers with an advanced degree. That translates to an extra $1 million and $1.52 million, respectively, over a 40-year career.
Second, most of us will change jobs during our lives—on average 12 times between ages 18 and 48, according to BLS, and perhaps several more times after that. Most of those jobs will require new skills and knowledge.
Third, even when you are done working, you’ll want to keep learning. Along with being a good exercise, learning a new skill can improve memory and help stave off cognitive decline. And there is a pretty good chance you’ll want to do that. Of those who turned 65 this year, one-fourth will live past age 90 and one-tenth will live past 95.
If nothing else, changing technology—at work, at home, in our phones, in our cars, and everywhere else—requires that we keep learning. It is estimated the shelf life of technical skills is about six years, meaning we need to keep retooling ourselves to stay current.
Staying on top of the learning curve can be a daunting task, particularly if you are beyond the “traditional” college years. But here is an option worth considering, regardless of where you are on the career continuum: the College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS).
CCAPS exists to inspire and serve an expanding population of learners in all stages of life. Many of our degree-seeking students are working adults, are raising families, or are first generation, and they are diverse.
We offer seven bachelor’s and six master’s degrees spanning a range of disciplines, all of which help launch careers. We provide intensive advising to help students cope with busy lives, and we offer many scholarships. We have more than 11,000 alumni, 65 percent of whom live in Minnesota and are your neighbors and coworkers.
For those not seeking a degree we have multiple options, ranging from technology “boot camps” (e.g., coding, cybersecurity, data visualization) to professional development training (e.g., Agile, business analysis, project management, human resources, and more). All our courses are taught by experts who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience into the classroom.
And for those wanting to stay intellectually sharp in their retirement years, we offer myriad opportunities. They range from half-day courses taught by University faculty, to monthly lectures by cutting edge researchers, to travel abroad. These offerings keep your mind sharp, help you build community, and keep you apprised of the latest developments.
You’ve probably heard the saying “It’s never too late to learn.” In today’s world I would say it’s already too late to not learn.