l Capital University Journal
education offers a competitive edge
story by Allison L. Shaw
photo by Sherry Mark
Napa Hall officially opens in January, Sac States College of Continuing
Education (formerly Regional & Continuing Education) will take up
residence on campus and bring a client-consultation approach to higher
for the future
One year ago, Sac States land between Folsom Boulevard and State
University Drive South was just a gravel parking lot. It will soon be
home to the College of Continuing Educations new state-of-the-art
The 34,000 square-foot building, designed by Dreyfuss & Blackford
Architects and built by Harbison Mahoney Higgens Builders, has seven classrooms,
four hands-on computer labs and five conference rooms, as well as offices.
It is our intent and goal to utilize this building not only as a
home for our programs and staff, but also as a visual and tangible symbol
of our connection with the CSUS campus and the greater Sacramento community,
says Alice Tom, dean of the College of Continuing Education.
The College offers a variety of professional development courses. Formal
admission to Sac State is not required for most of the Colleges
programs, and the programs are not publicly fundedclass
fees cover the cost of instruction and administration.
on the past
The first Sac State continuing education courses were offered in 1951
and focused on courses for K-12 teachers. There were about 100 courses.
Today the College of Continuing Education offers about 1,500 public professional
development courses with about 15,000 enrollments. To keep pace with the
needs of the local workforce, the College has expanded its program to
cover areas including business operations, organizational development,
information technology, health and human services, education, test preparation,
criminal justice, management and executive leadership, international business
training and English as a second language.
As more adult learners pursue professional development courses and degree
completion options, Tom has noticed a trend. We find that our students
enroll in continuing education courses for a variety of reasons,
she explains, but their shared theme is a desire to remain competitive
in their field.
The College has its work cut out for it. The Bureau of Labor Statistics
reports that 70 percent of the coming decades fastest-growing jobs
require post-secondary education. Working adults will have to learn
more and learn more often to compete.
Continuing education appeals to adult learners with flexible schedules,
the real-world experience of the Colleges instructors and a hands-on
I have learned so much in the library media program, says
Suzanne Covington, a library tech supervisor at Gold Trail Elementary
School in El Dorado County. It was very hands-on and practical.
For Larrilyn Davenport, who recently completed the contract administration
certificate program, instructors were key. She says, Each of the
instructors provided valuable information and tools to navigate a broad
and complex field.
In addition to certificate programs, conferences and workshops, the College
of Continuing Education has a bachelor of vocational education (BVE) program,
which allows working adults to pursue a Sac State bachelors degree
by earning college credit for work experience.
For Kim Dicus of Vallejo, earning a BVE degree moved her from being a
high school secretary to teaching in the schools regional occupation
program. Getting my degree has really helped me feel capable,
explains Dicus. I am finally fulfilling a personal goal and the
BVE degree has opened up a lot of doors for me, including an increase
The College of Continuing Education is moving toward a client-consultation
model of education. Whether that client is an individual in a certificate
program or a multi-billion dollar organization looking for leadership
development, the goal is the same: high quality education that meets the
We dont tell people how to do things, explains Tom,
the Colleges dean. We listen to them and then help them reach
their goals. We try to find education solutions that will work for them.
That flexibility has made development specialists at the College of Continuing
Education into workforce development partners for the Sacramento Region.
This fall, the College launched six new programs.
The analytical skills certificate program is a reflection of what
government and agency training professionals are asking for, says
Jenni Helfrich, director of the Colleges business and technology
programs. Its a program that focuses on building the core
competencies of an analyst at any level within an organization.
The new community college leadership program is designed to meet the growing
need for leadership in Californias community colleges.
The professional development opportunities and benefits of discussing
leadership issues with colleagues and the fact that prior to this
program people had to travel out of state to get this kind of training
makes this program a very exciting opportunity, says Brice
Harris, chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District and one
of the programs two moderators.
In the information technology field, the College has two new programs
focused on managing technology professionals and information security.
The effort goes beyond the city limits, with programs like the Dropout
prevention specialist certificate, which is offered in six cities throughout
California, and the professional language programs, which bring international
professionals to Sacramento.
As the College branches out into a more client-centered approach to education,
private contracts are becoming more important. Contract and corporate
education allows employers to offer the most flexible, cost-effective
and personalized education opportunities to their employees.
Our goal is to bring the breadth of the College of Continuing Educations
professional development training and business consulting services to
the corporate sector, says Jan Geiger, director of contract education.
The College has a long-standing tradition of providing quality education
for such clients as Aerojet, American Red Cross, Apple Computer, Bank
of America, Blue Shield, Caltrans, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, KVIE-TV6, SMUD,
and Vision Service Plan as well as city and county offices, school districts
and state agencies throughout California.
Through its conference and training services group, the College offers
a full portfolio of service to state agencies as well. The group facilitates
about 150 statewide projects each year.
Continuing education is cutting-edge for the University, says
Sac State President Donald R. Gerth. It is an arena where new programs
can be developed and the closest relationships can be formed between the
University and the people of the community.
Details: (916) 278-4433.