MCC News

Getting Degree or Certificate in Career Programs Pays Off, MCC’s New Study Shows (01/16/2019)

Note: This is an ARCHIVED news release. Information in this article may have changed since this was published.

A few of the initiatives included in Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal, which was released Tuesday, align with MCC’s work in combatting poverty in Rochester and beyond and in connecting students to high-demand occupations available across the Finger Lakes region. MCC’s innovative work in labor market analytics is also recognized in the governor’s budget plan.

Among MCC’s latest efforts is a new comprehensive labor-market study that shows an MCC education in a career program pays off—literally.

Five years after achieving their degree or certificate in a career program and immediately obtaining employment in an industry aligned to their program of study, many MCC graduates in New York state are earning a median hourly wage on par with the mid-career pay rate for a worker in the same field in the Finger Lakes region.

In some cases, within five years of earning their degree or certificate, MCC graduates in technical career fields who are working in New York state earn nearly as much as the average wage of bachelor’s degree holders, no matter the field, in Monroe County.

An example of a program with big earnings payoff is the mechanical technology degree. The median starting salary of new MCC graduates is $15.25 an hour. These same graduates by the end of their fifth year of employment earn a median wage of $24.46 an hour. When comparing the wages of program graduates in New York state with that of the Finger Lakes region’s workers employed in the same occupations, MCC graduates have achieved nearly 95% of the region’s median mid-career hourly wage—$25.90—in their fifth year out. The fifth-year wage attainment also represents 91% of the average hourly wage of a Monroe County bachelor’s degree holder—at $26.78.

MCC career programs across various industry sectors show healthy payoffs, including optical systems technology, electrical engineering technology, welding, computer systems technology, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. These programs support efforts at the local and state level to reverse the skills gap impacting the region while putting graduates on a trajectory to earn strong wages.

Data on current and future job openings related to 17 MCC career programs and a corresponding list of top employers seeking to hire talent can be found at The study was conducted by MCC’s Economic and Workforce Development Center.

Media Contact:
Hency Yuen-Eng
Marketing and Community Relations