Upon securing a job as a training coordinator at the Los Angeles Sheriff Department (LASD) in 2008, Carolyn Scott took advantage of her strong educational foundation to return to school to pursue a master's degree after more than a decade in the workforce. In 2010, she earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from National University, which is part of the LASD University consortium for department employees. The MPA enabled Scott to achieve one of her career goals of transitioning her work from the private sector to the public sector, as well as increasing her potential for advancement opportunities.
She recently received a promotion and is now an administrative services manager for the LASD serving as a contracts analyst administering solicitations to support contract recommendations for a variety of services used to support the entire organization. "Obtaining an MPA helped me transition to the public sector, providing a basis for learning how we support our communities, and allowing me to shift my work focus from profit to service," said Scott, a resident of the city of Paramount.
Identifying herself as a life-long learner, Scott's educational journey began in 1991 when she was concurrently enrolled at the former Compton Community College and California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). During that time, she also worked at three different jobs to help out her single-father household. She graduated from CSUDH with a bachelor's degree in business administration and management in August 1998.
"Attending a community college allowed me to have access to courses that were very competitive on the CSUDH campus, said Scott. "If there was a general education course that was full at Cal State Dominguez Hills, I could enroll in that same course at [the former] Compton College. Concurrent enrollment allowed me to take classes on a continuous basis and enabled me stay on track to obtain my bachelor's degree."
As a member of the communities served by the Compton Community College District, Scott reinforces El Camino College Compton Center's value as an important resource for working adults. "It provides a foundation for figuring out what you want to do at a lower cost than attending a university and is a learning ground for determining a major or focus of study," said Scott.
Although Scott's father, who was born in the rural south in 1931, only completed the 7th grade, he instilled in her the value of education as a means to a better life. In the past six years while working at the LASD, Scott has continued her education and has earned several certificates to expand her growing skill set. "What I have learned in my career is the value of having specialized certification, said Scott. "In my experience, having a certificate can sometimes be just as beneficial as having a degree because learning is focused in a specific area and it increases your skill set and level of expertise."
El Camino College Compton Center offers 42 academic degree programs, as well as 20 Career and Technical Education certificate programs. Students, working adults and veterans can earn a degree, transfer to a four-year university, or train for a good-paying job. Evening, weekend and online courses are offered to fit into any student's schedule.