Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Programming for the Nation's Workforce

As the economy continues to struggle, we are focusing more than ever on our new Vision statement, particularly one line of that goal:

Charter Oak State College: A community of online learners advancing the nation's workforce one graduate at a time.

We see our new master's degree in Organizational Effectiveness as an important part of meeting current workforce need. If the College is any indicator of what other businesses are doing, then improving organizational efficiency, effectiveness, and measures of that effectiveness are more important than ever. The content of this online master's degree, as well as its method of delivery, will provide exactly the preparation required for today's business leaders. We hope to launch our program in the Fall of 2011.

But there is more we are doing to advance the nation's workforce. We are also undertaking a substantive research effort to identify the skills and knowledge that the new economy will require in order to develop academic programs that will help working adults meet those emerging needs. As I have mentioned before, this recession is not just temporarily displacing workers, it is also permanently displacing workers. That means that new employment opportunities will require both new knowledge and new skills. We have collected data on where the emerging jobs will be, and we are now working to identify which of these possibilities will work for our adult, online students and which skills we should emphasize in our programs.

We will certainly build on the strong foundation that already exists, as we have growing programs in public safety, early childhood education, and healthcare administration. We will also develop programs that are module in nature. While the College's primary goal is degree attainment for adult learners, as we design new programs, beginning with the master's degree, we will build these in such a way that pieces of them can be used to build specific content and/or skill sets that are particularly relevant in the emerging workplace. For example, our master's degree will have a non-profit focus, and that group of courses could be taken as a unit to enrich individuals looking to improve their understanding of the non-profit sector.

We understand that the American workforce is challenged to improve itself to stay relevant in the post-recession workplace, and we are actively working to create programs that provide degrees and skills relevant to that economy. Not only are we seeking to provide flexible approaches to those new skills, but in the process we are participating in growing and sustaining a new economic workforce in America.

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