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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Adult education may expand in area

"The Sidney Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, Sidney Public Schools and the Miles City and Dawson community colleges are collaborating to bring more adult education opportunities to the Richland community." continues Sidney Herald Leader.


Jessica Davies, executive director of the Sidney Chamber, met with Daniel Farr, superintendent of schools, and the president of the two colleges Nov. 25 to figure out how the group effort would proceed, Davies said Monday.

“It was a strategy planning meeting,” she said. “Everyone is going to have their own areas they want to reach, but in the long run it’s all the exact same agenda.”

Davies then went out and met with food, merchant, oilfield and construction business leaders in the area to figure out what their needs are, she said. What she found was that with all the people moving into the area over the past few years, few come prepared with the standard skill sets they need to enter a desired profession.

Through talking to local businesses, Davies found these educational needs to be most in demand: OSHA and general safety training; pipeline recertification; welding recertification; concrete certification; soft skills, such as written and verbal communication skills; meeting facilitation; grant writing; workplace etiquette; and food preparation and custodial training.

QuickBooks was another major of need. The chamber had already set up one training session for QuickBooks, she noted, which had a large turnout and now has a long waiting list to get into the training.

“We have such a wide variety of needs, how do we narrow that down and come up with customized classes or work with community colleges, and what do we already offer at the high school, to bring those needs together?” she asked.

Many of the smaller businesses in town can’t afford to send their employees to receive this training elsewhere, Davies said. The majority of the businesses favored having local, classroom based learning options over online courses.

“Distance learning serves a purpose, but it’s not the only purpose,” Farr said. “We’re looking at using a blended model, which mixes online and face-to-face learning.”

Source: Sidney Herald Leader