A new trend sociocultural trend appears to be emerging: as the unemployment rate increases, so does enrollment in community colleges with associate’s degrees programs. As adults find themselves ousted from their careers, obtaining a higher level degree helps bolster their resumes and makes them more marketable to employers.

In addition to associate’s degree programs, various types of colleges are reporting more enrollments in non-credit courses. This is a true testament to the mentality that improving one’s self is forever possible and that massive employee layoffs will not dampen America’s work ethic. Continuing education studies are administered for the sole purpose of enabling individuals to acquire more knowledge in a highly specific area – no certificate or diploma is obtained upon completion. Community college enrollment has increased considerably in the poor employment landscape since adults appreciate the low costs and convenient locations of these schools. So in order to meet demands, community colleges have expanded their continuing studies course offerings. As one director at Middlesex Community College in New Jersey told the New York Times: “I check with industry experts, census figures on demographics, watch the classes that have increased enrollment and maybe add a section of something similar.”

Many well-known colleges in metropolitan cities have strong job-oriented education programs, where industry professionals instruct students on how to get ahead in a particular field. New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, for instance, offers courses in advertising copywriting and music marketing taught by instructors who have gained esteemed in large New York City-based companies. While projects are completed and grades are given, there is no certificate or diploma given at the end of the course. But the valuable insight into specific industry sectors is invaluable to students looking to advance at their place (or a new place) of work.