- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) has recently updated its roster of continuing education courses to include more white-collar and technology oriented coursework, reports Times Free Press. New topics include project management and advanced placement, and participants have the opportunity to earn "task-specific" certifications.
- For the last 18 months, John Freeze, Director of UTC's Center for Professional Education, has been tasked with moving the university's continuing education programs away from hobby-based learning to more career-relevant skill building. One of the programs includes 35 required hours for the PMP certification, which can help participants earn up to $15,000 more annually.
- "Years ago, the model for continuing ed was enrichment," Freeze told Times Free Press. "Those programs, over the last decade, have gone out of favor."
Programs like UTC's bring skills-based job training increasingly into the fold of higher education, and that's a good thing for employers who still lack the talent necessary to fill thousands of positions.
There's no denying the increased demand in corporate learning for mobile, on-demand learning either, particularly for soft skills. What UTC has done is harness this and create courses that appeal to the population of Chattanooga, an area that is still bouncing back economically from recession conditions.
It will be interesting to see whether these types of solutions might help galvanize similar learning opportunities for blue-collar fields. Fundamental skills in these industries aren't usually encountered in everyday experience anymore, so companies will have to rely on continuing education programs to introduce such concepts instead.