The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Highline programs match up with growing job markets

Severiano Garcia Staff Reporter Jun 09, 2022

Highline is offering  programs that greatly coincide with projected growing demand in a couple of job markets.

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics has projected that total employment will grow 7.7 percent between 2020 and 2030 in the United States. This growth is being attributed partially to recovery from Covid.

Of all the industries that are growing, nursing, hospitality, and information technology are particularly expected to grow, with an increase in demand for a multitude of reasons.

Highline offers multiple degree pathways that align with the projected growth, from associate’s degrees in hospitality and tourism management to bachelor’s degrees in respiratory care.

Seven of the 30 projected fastest growing occupations over the next decade are in health care. Much of this growth comes from an increase in chronic conditions (like those left by Covid) and the increase of elderly citizens, creating a greater demand for health care service professionals, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics

Highline offers several nursing related programs, including a bachelor’s degree in respiratory care. However, Covid has had an effect on these as well, said Dr. Steven Simpkins, program director of Highline’s nursing and nursing assistant certificate programs.

“It has, without a doubt, been challenging but I would say that the impact has not been as great as I had anticipated,” he said. 

“The nursing program, as with most of the health care professional programs here at Highline, have had some degree of face-to-face course work throughout the Covid pandemic,” he said. “Between our skills lab and clinical rotations, there are just some aspects of nursing education that can’t be done without being on site.” 

Another reason that the health care services are expected to grow is because of an increase in the use of team-based health care models.

“There are many, many variations of team-based health care that have been, and continue to be, used since the late ‘90s,” said Dr. Simpkins.

“It can include just one profession (i.e. MD, nursing, public health) or a combination of these professions.”

While there will be an increase in demand for health care professionals over the next decade, Dr. Simpkins said there will also be a shift in what is expected of them.

“Nurses will always be an integral part of hospitals and outpatient care,” he said. 

“That said, I believe that there is a tremendous need for nursing to take on a greater role in community health and I think this will be the next transition we will see in nursing – moving from a medical model where we care for patients who are so sick they are hospitalized or coming to the clinic to a role where nurses are out in the community working with families and leaders to improve and maintain healthy lifestyles for everyone in the community,” he said. 

One of the industries most affected by the pandemic was hospitality and leisure, due to restrictions on activities such as restaurants and traveling. Pandemic recovery is one of the main reasons that seven of the 20 fastest growing industries over the next decade fall under the leisure and hospitality industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Despite the impact on the hospitality industry, Dr. Justin Taillon, department head of Highline’s hospitality and tourism management programs, said that the courses have not been affected as much by Covid.

“It has not affected us. First, we were already a predominantly HyFlex department before COVID. This is a form of flipped education model where the course material is online and in the classroom we do homework together and bring the material to life through experiences,” he said.

“Secondly, enrollment has actually gone up in recent quarters. Spring Quarter 2022 was the second highest enrollment quarter for HOST since 2018.” 

The skills you learn in hospitality courses have a great deal of versatility as well, both in practicality and implementation.

“We apply what we teach, which is on one end business management effectiveness and on the other end a focus on student success post-graduation through individualized attention, which is hospitality,” Dr. Taillon said. “Hospitality is an extremely transferrable set of skills in business – skills I use every day, even in education.” 

Another of the fastest growing industries are computer occupations, as Covid has created a surge of telecommuting job opportunities which will require special support. This demand bleeds into other industries as well. Few industries don’t require information technology support.

“As employee wages continue to skyrocket (e.g., 30 percent increase in two years for front desk agents in Seattle, 35 percent increase for housekeepers in Seattle over the past two years), we will find tech implementation more profitable than paying wages,” said Dr. Taillon.

“This will lead to further wage increases, more specialized responsibilities, and perhaps even more professional staff. And we’ll kick the low wage conversation for hoteliers to the curb, even for front-line positions,” he said.

Additionally, with the increase of online implementation into people’s everyday lives, information analysts and statisticians will continue to grow in demand as well.

You can find more information about these industries and their opportunities on their respective Highline websites: