FRANKFORT, Kentucky and BOSTON, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite signs that the economy is slowly starting to recover, unemployment remains high nationally, with millions of displaced workers searching for help. As a result, community colleges are more popular than ever, the go-to place for local residents looking for opportunities to enhance their skills and train for new careers.
In Kentucky, the state's Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) launched a revolutionary program designed to put people back to work, as seen here. The program offers short, online courses for adults who need flexible ways to train for better jobs. KCTCS worked with Pearson, the world's leading learning company, to turn the program from vision into reality.
Using Pearson's digital content and courses, KCTCS Online is an affordable and easy online alternative to in-person classes, allowing students to work at their own pace to prepare for high-demand careers in information technology, business administration and nursing.
"Being a part of the KCTCS online program has changed my life," says Alexandra Sherwood, KCTCS online student. "I felt I was too old, past my prime, and also the fear that I couldn't really achieve this."
Sherwood conquered her fears and received her associate degree. She's now pursuing her bachelor's degree.
"Now, I don't look at myself as too old," she says.
The recession has increased demand for online learning, which grew more than 20 percent last year, according to the recent Sloan Survey of Online Learning. More than 5.5 million students are now enrolled in at least one online course, including David Fain. After years as a mid-level professional, he was burned out. It was time to change careers, but he didn't have a degree.
"Once I saw that I wouldn't be able to go any further in my career, I had to do something about it," says Fain.
KCTCS Online courses are separated into bite-size classes, or modules, with each section focusing on a specific skill that takes only three to eight weeks to complete -- giving students an easy, inexpensive way to upgrade their skills quickly. Students begin a new module whenever they're ready -- offering an on-demand educational experience, rather than adhering to fixed course schedules.
Students earn credit from each module that they can apply toward courses and degree programs at any of the 16 KCTCS colleges. Students also earn credit for prior knowledge -- if they test out of a module, they receive full credit. In addition, tuition at KCTCS Online is the lowest in Kentucky at $125 per credit hour, with individual modules costing as little as $60 to $90 each.
"Pearson has given us a customized solution," says Sandy Cook, KCTCS System Director of Distance Learning Technologies. "We have a uniqueness to our state and to our colleges that Pearson is very open to working with."
"We're really in the business of helping students re-train for new jobs and new positions, and in this economy, that's really important," says Don Kilburn, CEO of Pearson Learning Solutions.
About KCTCS Online
The Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) is the largest higher education provider in Kentucky. In 2008, KCTCS Online was started as an effort to provide even more Kentuckians with an affordable, flexible education. KCTCS Online prepares students for high-demand careers through its module system, in which students can quickly acquire the skills they need to earn a promotion, professional certification or an online degree. KCTCS Online offers fully accredited learning that transfers to other schools and can be eligible for financial aid. Tuition at KCTCS Online is among the lowest in the nation. Individual modules cost as little as $60 for critical skills training from fully accredited institutions. For more information, go to http://online.kctcs.edu.
About Pearson Learning Solutions
Pearson Learning Solutions is a business unit within Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the world's leading learning company. As an education partner and consultant to higher education institutions, Pearson Learning Solutions is committed to designing total, client-driven education solutions. We are a team of world-class education experts, instructional designers, curriculum development experts, education course writers, development editors and experienced textbook publishers. We tailor solutions to each institution's individual needs, including off-the-shelf online, in-classroom or blended courses, or fully customized curriculum development. We also provide a range of technology tools and learning platforms to help students, faculty and institutions succeed.
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