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Hire Education: Not all classes lead to a degree, some lead to employment

In today’s job market, not having a certificate of accomplishment from a continuing or higher education facility can hamper attempts for obtaining employment.

The workplace has changed. With so many people out of work, employers have a larger and more qualified pool of job seekers to choose from. Counting on a high school education just doesn’t cut it when you have a family to support or you are trying to get a foot in the door of a good paying job.

If you want to continue your education — whether transitioning from high school to a college degree or taking classes which will provide a better chance of securing the position you always wanted — you don’t have to go far.

Great Basin College Director of Community Education Angie De Braga said, “We want to make it as easy and convenient as possible.”

The classes cover everything from getting an associates degree to learning something fun and helpful.

You can take classes on your own time and make your own schedule.

Almost every learning center in the United States offers an option for online learning. The same is true of Great Basin.

A course may be taught on the campus in Elko, but students are learning from the same class at the same time in five or more locations served by Great Basin.

Some classes, such as driver’s education are taught, literally, around the clock, 24/7. It’s called “asynchronous learning.”

Community Education has always been part of the GBC mission and the college has expanded other aspects of education. Technology has provided the options and flexibility to all students wherever they reside. De Braga said, “And, it’s for all ages.”

For instance, there is a new interactive private airplane pilot class taught by a professional and is just like being in the classroom. The same is true with a paralegal certification course. Both begin this month, and will run for eight weeks.

These two classes are considered “gate-openers” to jobs. De Braga said, “We heard about this need in the hiring market, and wanted to honor it as soon as possible.”

Regarding the paralegal course, she said, “The market is abundant with openings and it’s a great start for someone planning a career in the legal field, sometimes leading to a law degree, and for others, a well-paying job with an average annual income at $46,000.”

There is a college math course that requires attendance and attention but offers the best preparation for entry into any college or university. De Braga noted the school takes these courses very seriously. Students have to participate, not just sign up.

A new paralegal program is being offered at Pahrump and other Great Basin colleges. The class is taught via interactive video and anyone interested in the non-credit program should sign up now. Each segment runs eight weeks.

Graduates will receive a certificate which is often enough to seek employment in the legal field.

For something fun, you might think about joining one of the college’s tour opportunities. Coming up in March 2014 is a trip to China during spring break, then Italy and Switzerland in the Fall. Both travel tours are already half full.

“Then,” said De Braga, “There’s other fun stuff, like Yoga, languages, cooking and preserving classes, hobby courses and cultural experiences.”

In January 2014 the school is offering a co-op extension course for cattlemen and dairy people on ranching and production, and an overall agricultural overview for those already in or just starting in the business.”

Community education, too, has gone through changes. As early as the 13th century monks were responsible for educating the community.

Later came more formal schools which taught what were considered “essential” subjects, such as decorum, arithmetic, spelling, writing and reading.

Education had its own graduation to formal grade levels, colleges and universities and vocational schools. In the past 300 years, community education returned.

Its mission is to give rural communities in particular, “backbone” education, including math and test-taking skills, basic writing and communication skills, and programs related to a specific industry or job.

Now, courses lead directly into professions where hiring organizations can’t find enough graduates to fill open positions.

That focus is greatly expanded, but is still is built on the same premise, which is educating local people with types of learning unique and most important to them and their forward progress, especially if higher learning is planned.

Director of GBC Pahrump Campus Diane Wrightman said, “We have a keen desire to reach out to the community, to know their educational needs, as the Pahrump Valley demographics change and evolve.

“We hope the community will look to us as a place where present and future ideas can be expressed and we will be going out into the community to learn all that.”

To that end, GBC schools are in tune with helping people learn in their own environment, and supplying the kind of education most necessary in order to find good jobs with good pay and keep them.

Education is a path to the future. De Braga said often graduates with advanced degrees look back to their early entry into college through community education.

Great Basin College Community Education Mission Statement reads: “Great Basin College Community Education enriches people’s lives by providing student-centered, postsecondary education to rural Nevada. The mission of GBC Continuing Education is to provide lifelong learning opportunities for residents in GBC communities through diverse educational, social, cultural and workforce development courses, activities and programs.”