Continuing Education (CE) classes and/or programs may be the most misunderstood delivery systems in education today. The misconception is that CE classes are “non-credit” and therefore have little value. What does non-credit actually mean? Simply, it refers to classes or programs that do not count toward a college degree.
However, during the last 20 years CE has become a very important delivery system — especially for community colleges. As a former community college CE Director and Dean, I saw the paradigm shift from CE as only leisure learning classes to workforce training. Many professions require CE upgrade training annually. For example, Real Estate agents, CPAs, medical technicians, and other professions where new information and techniques need to be learned rely heavily on CE classes or programs.
So, if you are an association or chamber leader, consider CE classes or programs. CE classes are usually shorter than college classes and many times are targeted more for what you really need for your profession. Additionally, CE classes usually require less documentation to enroll than college credit classes. Furthermore, CE classes may cost less than college credit due to the fact that colleges and universities typically add on so many fees.
Institute for Organization Management (IOM) under the auspices of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in my opinion, would be an excellent place to begin your pursuit to be a better chamber or association leader. IOM offers week long Institutes five times during the year designed especially for those who want to develop leadership skills.
I had the opportunity to serve, for the first time, as a faculty member last June at the Southeast Institute in Athens, Georgia. The week was well planned and the IOM staff did a superb job supporting faculty and participants. The synergy was high and class members were “pumped up” by the end of the week and ready to take back what they had learned to their local chamber or association.
Continuing Education has evolved into an educational delivery system that can provide quality instruction in a shorter period of time to meet the needs of students. Additionally, many colleges now accept CE hours for college credit on a “test out” basics.