Featured photo: Blue Ridge’s Continuing Education Course Schedule Announced for Fall 2023.
In community colleges like Blue Ridge Community College, Continuing Education refers to a wide range of short-term credential programs for furthering careers and personal interests.
“Continuing Education runs the full gamut,” said Dr. Scott Queen, Blue Ridge’s vice president of economic and workforce development. “Training is offered for individuals and companies to help them enhance their workforce skills, but we also have courses of personal enrichment for the health of the community.”
The workforce training portion of continuing education is particularly helpful for those needing to gain valuable skill sets in a short period of time. This has regional economic implications.
“For people who have families and other responsibilities, the quick turnaround in adding these skills helps them set realistic expectations for themselves,” Queen said. “Workforce development also generally feeds economic development through leveling up the skills of trained workers.”
One growing area within Continuing Education is ‘Allied Health,’ which is chaired by Heather Stewart. Allied Health is a subset of the healthcare field, which refers to a wide range of professionals whose work supports patients and healthcare systems through specialized knowledge and skills.
“Allied Health is a group of individuals who provide support to other healthcare team members such as physicians/providers, nurses, dentists and pharmacists,” said Stewart. “These individuals can be in direct patient care or work behind the scenes providing patient support and ensuring quality patient care.”
Stewart also emphasized the value of skilled training through short-term programs.
“By offering our Allied Health programs through continuing education, it allows community members to explore a variety of healthcare options without spending a lot of money or taking up a lot of time,” Stewart said. “Many of our programs are between 140-240 contact hours, and we offer a variety of course schedules and formats to accommodate those with families or working full time.”
Learn more about Continuing Education courses for Fall ‘23 at www.blueridge.edu/ce.