Nelson Baker, dean of Georgia Tech Professional Education, recently addressed members of the Organization of American States, sharing how continuing education adds a workforce development option that could help all economies move forward.
Higher education is no longer just about traditional undergraduate and graduate students. By some estimates more than 50 percent of today’s students pursue postsecondary education well beyond the “traditional” pattern of right after high school. Not only are student demographics changing, but so are the knowledge and skills they must learn. With technologies evolving so rapidly, working professionals need to access the resources of higher education to stay current throughout their careers – whether or not they have a degree.
Working professionals and their employers are not necessarily looking for degrees or academic credit; they are more interested in the knowledge attained and how it’s applicable to their business and career. Credentials from institutions of higher learning need to be stackable with non-credit courses and certificates, complementing degrees as careers progress and industries evolve.
Those who embrace this new paradigm of delivering higher education beyond graduation, and in some places in lieu of it, will be the economies and populations that will lead in tomorrow’s world. Professional education, as it is with many corporations, needs to be strategic for universities as they plan their curricula. I’m proud to say Georgia Tech is doing just that – making an investment in professional education so we not only prepare our students to enter the workforce, but also sustain them throughout their careers.
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