SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Mahboobeh Khalil quit her job as a retail manager to pursue her passion - I.T. Engineering. Then the pandemic hit and unemployment skyrocketed.
“I was so hopeless, I was blaming myself every single day,” she said. “Why did I make that decision?”
Kahlili had a degree in I.T. from University of Tehran, but felt she a credential from an American school.
She figured out a way to do it without the risk of overwhelming student debt. Khalili signed up for the San Diego Workforce Partnership's Income Share Agreement.
The program fronts the money for a certificate program at UC San Diego Extension, which costs around $6,500.
Graduates pay back up to 1.8 times that price, or $11,700. The payments total 6 to 8 percent of gross monthly income.
Graduates, however, only make monthly payments if they are earning more than $3,333 per month, equivalent to a $40,000 yearly salary. If salary drops below that, the payments stop. And, payments end after three to five years, no matter the amount still owed.
“You don't need that four-year degree,” said Peter Callstrom, the Workforce Partnership’s CEO. “If you can get that extension certificate and you have a very specific, critical skill set that you've acquired, that’s what employers are looking for.”
The average graduate is making $53,000 year, with six of them above six figures. The Workforce Partnership is opening applications for the summer.
Khalili got her certificate in business intelligence, and landed a job at ServiceNow, earning 30 percent more than she did as a retail manager.
“I'm more than happy that I made that decision and I stayed on it for a whole year,” she said.
She's now making the monthly payments to help the next group follow in her footsteps.