High school graduates can give their paychecks a boost by earning a two-year degree, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, and just a few more days remain to take the first step toward that degree at Roane State Community College.

In a speech last month, U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said high school dropouts working full-time average earning about $519 per week. People with a high school diploma average $725 weekly.

Workers with some college classes or associate' s degrees average about $856 per week, she said. That' s 65 percent more than high school dropouts and 18 percent more than high school graduates.

Roane State offers associate of applied science degrees that train students for direct entry into the workforce in a variety of fields.

Workers with a bachelor's degree or higher average $1,408 per week, the labor secretary said. Roane State' s two-year associate of arts and associate of science degrees prepare students to transfer to four-year institutions.

Classes begin on Aug. 27. Students can register until the start of classes. For more information, call (865) 882-4526 or register online at www.roanestate.edu. Students who have not applied for admission are encouraged to contact the admissions office at (865) 882-4523.