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Continuing Education

Workplace Change Spurs Growth of Adult Learning

A generation of practical workers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people hold an average of 12 jobs in their lifetime. Our workforce changes as industries change and adapt to new technologies. People continually enhance their skills, advance their careers and transition into new roles.

Traditionally, one would complete a four-year degree, followed by a master’s degree. However, today’s adult learners now consider acquiring practical skills. A recent study by Pearson Education found that more than 70 percent of adult learners will require additional training to keep up in their fields.

“The adult learner population is growing rapidly. 40 percent of students attending U.S. colleges and universities are aged 25 or older,” said Nelson C. Baker, Ph.D., dean of Professional Education at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “In today’s constantly evolving business environment, professional education is essential for career growth and job security. Regardless of their foundational education and credentials, today’s workers realize they need to take additional steps to remain competitive in their fields.”

An agile education

Today, adult learners have many opportunities for professional and continuing education. Universities offer online degrees that make school and work easy. Certificates and non-credit programs are available for people unable to commit to long-term degree programs. These short-term programs are flexible, prepare for the future and continue success. Students can fit programs within their time and budget in both day and evening formats.

Not afraid of the future

The technological boom has helped people, but transformed our work environment as industries adjust to current technologies. A 2017 Udemy study revealed that 43 percent of employees were concerned with potentially losing employment due to new technologies such as artificial intelligence. But pursuing additional training demonstrates you are not afraid to keep learning. You can stay relevant by staying up-to-date on trends, technologies and the latest skills.

 “Acquiring new skills is one of the many benefits of continuing and professional education,” said Timothy Blumentritt, Ph.D., interim dean of Kennesaw State University’s College of Continuing and Professional Education. “In addition to enhancing your skillset, certificate programs and training courses advance your career. Most programs prepare students for industry-recognized certifications, giving them a competitive advantage. A short-term commitment can improve your marketability and increase your prospects.”

Today’s workforce requires skilled workers. Professional and continuing education is a cost-effective option to develop better adult learners. Colleges and universities are evolving, offering lifelong career-advancing opportunities working professionals need.

Lourdes Arevalo, [email protected]

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