News From Regional & Continuing Education

Continuing Education in Chico Offers Opportunities for Working People, Retirees

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

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By LAURA URSENY - Staff Writer
Reprinted in full from the Chico Enterprise Record.


CHICO — While higher education has appealed to the not-so-young for decades, more working adults are attracted to Chico State University for professional development.

Working adults find an array of class series, workshops and conferences that are fast-tracked and are flexible to meld with career schedules.

Over 2009 and 2010, more than 11,730 enrollments occurred in courses offered by the University’s Center for Regional and Continuing Education. These students took the classes either for credit or simply for the knowledge.

Employers sometimes find their work force is missing essential skills or knowledge to complete their jobs, or the jobs change to demand new skills. Sometimes the courses and workshops are triggered by changes that apply to many industries. Continuing education marketing director Melissa McGowan said the university is interested in filling the voids where possible, and can custom-build a course for a company. At other times, employees themselves recognize a need.

This spring, the department has organized specific courses or conferences for teachers, dentists, medical professionals, government officials and pharmacy technicians. Then there are general ones like thriving under pressure, managing nonprofit organizations, and web development. A botanist symposium just finished, attracting professionals from throughout the state. Leaders from around California come to the Northern California Local Government Leadership Institute. More than 1,050 attendees came to one-day events during the 2009-10 school year.

There are lighter classes too, such as the meaning behind “The Star-Spangled Banner” or “The Car and the City: Popular Culture in the 1920s.” Classes may be offered online, which can make the experience even easier for the working person. Onsite classes are offered in Chico and Redding.

McGowan recommends checking the center’s website often or calling to see if a certain program might be coming. An existing program may suit the need, and program directors can guide an inquiry. While the center tries to be flexible to inquiries, it may not offer programs available elsewhere, McGowan said. Prices also differ depending on whether credit is offered, the demand and other considerations.

There also are opportunities for seniors. ElderCollege allows those age 60 and older to take university courses without credit, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, for those 60 and over or retired, stimulates conversations and relationships.

Our goal is to provide a wide variety of educational options for students, whether they’d like to continue their learning, complete a degree or get new training to help an existing career, or just for the love of learning,” said McGowan.

More information on the center and its offerings is available online at http://rce.csuchico.edu or by calling 898-6105.

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