"Education is the most
powerful weapon which
you can use to change
the world".

-- Nelson Mandela



"Genius without education
is like silver in the mine."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Archive for April, 2010

Online Degrees are Perfect for the Upwardly Mobile

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Just about everyone wants to be counted among the upwardly mobile; and online degrees are the most convenient way to ‘have your cake and eat it too’ while pursuing one’s goals.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of upwardly mobile is “the capacity or facility for rising to a higher social or economic standing”.

Higher social standing is not about vanity, it is about living in safer communities, one’s children attending better schools, and having access to other services that denote an improved standard of living.

Higher economic standing is often the main motivation for going back to school. Online degrees enable graduates to increase their income through access to higher-paying jobs, as well as through opportunities for promotion on the job.

But it is difficult to remain upwardly mobile when layoffs hit home.

Yet, by enrolling in online degree programs, jobless workers continue to move forward in upgrading their skills and earning college degrees or certificates. This looks great on a resume and shows employers and recruiters that the online student is motivated and headed in a positive direction, even if currently out of work.

In addition to skipping the drive to an on-campus classroom, online students generally choose when and where they will ‘attend’ virtual lectures and complete their assignments.

E-learners can hold down a full-time job, spend quality time with their families, and fit their studies into time slots that work best in a busy schedule.

The icing on the cake is that online degree and certificate programs are available in a myriad of wonderful choices — including accounting, nursing, business, education, computer science, health administration, criminal justice (including homeland security), and more.

There are few better ways to remain upwardly mobile than by returning to school, especially when a job loss has occurred.

And online degrees are a perfect way to keep heading in an upwardly mobile and rewarding career direction.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Job Fairs Highlight Need to Upgrade Career Skills

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Local job fairs, like the one that took place in Santa Rosa yesterday, highlight the need for adult learners to return to school to upgrade outdated skills.

All around the country, job fairs conveniently match up job seekers with employers who need to fill vacant positions.

As 1,350 job seekers applied for jobs offered by 90 recruiters in Santa Rosa yesterday, it was evident to some applicants that although work experience is valuable, it is often trumped by new college graduates’ knowledge and training in the latest software, technology and strategies in their respective career fields.

A job fair expo can be motivating for those who are deciding whether to enroll in adult education courses, online degrees or online certificate programs. Workers who recently lost jobs after a long career often discover that much has changed in their industry; and now it is time to return to school.

Many choose to enroll in popular accounting certificate programs, teaching certificate programs or nursing certificate programs, or degree programs in business, criminal justice, health administration, computer science, paralegal studies, and information technology.

Online student learning keeps it simple by allowing job seekers to take courses at home, while continuing the search for a new position.

Job fairs are an excellent place for applicants to speak candidly with employers and test the waters, whether seeking a job in the same industry or making a career change. They offer an open, friendly and supportive atmosphere where anything can happen, including finding a new job.

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Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Five Ways to Find Hidden Jobs

Monday, April 26th, 2010

The recession is over and we are on the path to recovery, or so we have been told by the nation’s leading economists.

Unfortunately, for close to 15 million people in the U.S., the reality is that job openings are a rare species.

Discouraged job seekers pounded the pavement, posted resumes on the Internet, and pursued every known lead; yet they are still unemployed.

However, there may be another way for them — discovering hidden jobs.

Hidden jobs, the ones that never make it to the newspaper want ads or online employment websites, may be closer than most people think.

They are a valuable resource that can be tapped — if you know how to find them.

Here are five ways to uncover and snag these hidden jobs:

1) Instead of just letting your fingers do the walking through the want ads, be more proactive. Take a walk through the main business centers and busy downtown areas of your town or city. Often, small business employers simply put up ‘Help Wanted’ signs on a window or door of the business. Also, ask local merchants if they know of any hiring that is taking place in the area. You may be surprised to get a few leads this way.

2) Don’t hide the fact that you are looking for a job. Tell everyone you know or meet that you are seeking employment. Many people do the opposite — they don’t want people to know they are out of work. But if there is an unpublicized opening in the company for which a friend or acquaintance works, they may either recommend you to their employer or contact you personally to apply for the job. So spread the word.

3) Upgrade and expand your skills for versatility in landing a company first, then your desired job. Consider taking classes in accounting/bookkeeping, Excel, web design, keyboarding, and current office software. These courses may help qualify you for a variety of positions in companies that have a policy of promoting current employees before opening vacant positions to the public. Enroll in an accredited online degree or certificate program, or take advantage of free or low-cost classes offered by local community colleges or adult schools. Once you get your foot into the door of your chosen company, you are on your way to the job you really want.

4) If you are willing to relocate, consider moving to a ‘low unemployment rate’ state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest unemployment rate is 4% in North Dakota. Other low unemployment rate states include South Dakota and Nebraska. Many other states have rates in the 6’s and 7’s, which is still low compared to California’s 12.6% unemployment rate. Before making a move, check out living costs, housing availability, and weather patterns, as well as types of available jobs and their qualifications. For example, North Dakota has lots of jobs, but is struggling with a housing shortage. Those who can purchase a house, rather than rent, are at an advantage in North Dakota.

5) Follow current and future job trends, then train for the most in-demand jobs. For example, the current nursing shortage is expected to balloon over the next several years. This is due to an increasing aging population and the retirement of many veteran nurses. Also, the new health care bill will enable thousands of new patients to be added to hospital and outpatient rosters. Job seekers who hang their hats on the health care industry, especially registered nursing, will increase their chances of landing positions in a stable, well-paying profession.

Although the job market appears to be limited, it contains a wealth of jobs that never make it to the want ads.

So widen your job search and dig for these hidden gems — you never know what you may find.

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Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Northern California Wine Country Feeds Culinary Arts

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Visitors from all over the world love to visit the Northern California wine country — a region of beautiful vineyards, scenic countryside and spectacular coastline.

Last week, 25,000 visitors from 47 states flocked to just two wine-tasting events, according to the Press Democrat.

In addition, spectacular architectural displays, such as the Castello di Amorosa winery in Calistoga — also know as ‘The Castle’ — draw busloads of tourists to the area year round.

The emphasis on wine-tasting and production, however, also enhances the proliferation of fine dining establishments, where local wines are promoted and served alongside sommelier favorites from outside the Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino region.

Budding chefs and restaurant entrepreneurs discover inspiration through a variety of culinary arts opportunities in Northern California, including the French Laundry Restaurant, which has an 8-week or more waiting list. It is no wonder that culinary arts schools thrive in this gastronomical environment.

One of the premier cooking schools in the area, the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, is adjacent to the Wine Spectator Restaurant, where diners enjoy a sweeping view of picturesque vineyards from its outdoor patio.

This beautiful setting provides an idyllic training ground for the soon-to-graduate culinary arts students next door, who work closely with the professional restaurant staff at the Wine Spectator.

However, culinary arts programs are not limited to Northern California, but are available throughout the nation. Interested students who desire a restaurant or food services career may choose from qualified culinary arts programs closer to their homes.

To make it easier for students who are far from a local culinary arts school, some colleges offer online culinary arts programs. Ashworth College, offers an online diploma in Gourmet Cooking & Catering, with a series of 20 contained lessons that can be completed at home.

After graduation, culinary arts students may consider career opportunities that take them to far away dream locations — including the tantalizing Northern California wine country.

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Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Online Degrees are Convenient, Not Easy

Monday, April 12th, 2010

The next 10 years could see a wave of new college graduates — at least 5 million more if the American Graduation Initiative hits its mark.

A large crop of those graduates will hail from online schools, or they will receive online degrees from traditional colleges and universities, according to Sloan Consortium reports.

Yet there is a misconception among some potential online students who believe that the academic content and requirements of their classes will be easier if they choose accredited online degree programs.

They heard about the convenience and flexibility of online degrees and have, somehow, concluded that online degrees are easy to complete.

They are wrong. And unfortunately for them, a rude awakening may be just around the corner.

They need to understand that:

  • Accredited on-campus and online degrees are held to the same high standards of excellence by accrediting agencies.
  • Both have undergone a rigorous accreditation process.
  • Their ability to offer college degrees was only possible after they successfully met accreditation requirements.

In other words, students who enroll in online degree programs should expect a level of difficulty comparable to the same on-campus academic programs.

A small, but growing, segment of higher education institutions do offer the same academic degrees both on-campus and online. In these cases, faculty, assignments, books, and other requirements are generally the same.

So when considering an accredited online degree program, potential students should assume they will receive an excellent education centered around convenience and flexibility — not less work.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

New Mini Cellphone Towers May Aid Online Students

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The frustration of dropped calls and unreliable cellphone signals just became less of a problem for those calling from home.

According to today’s New York times, AT&T is the latest company to offer miniature cell towers for sale to customers who have difficulty connecting multimedia cellphones to the Internet at home.

Mini cell towers offer a solution for online degree students and others who use their cellphones to access the Internet, but who live in areas of poor wireless reception.

The At&T device, called “MicroCells”, is poised to sell in only a few locations this month — including San Francisco and New York.

Although cellphone customers are frustrated about incurring additional costs for services for which they are already paying, many are expected to jump at the chance to enjoy perfect cellphone connectivity –even if it has a $150 price tag.

The thought of “no dropped calls” is especially palatable to iPhone users, who are especially vocal in their frustrations over cellphone reception problems. The cost of a “MicroCell” will add greatly to the cost of owning an iPhone; since these users already pay an extra $20-$30 for iPhone service — on top of the standard AT&T cellphone plans.

But since other communications networks, including Verizon, already offer similar home Wi-Fi towers for sale to their customers, AT&T feels confident about not incurring FCC fines for double-charging customers, especially iPhone users, for wireless connection services advertised as included in additional mandatory iPhone fees.

Online degree students often use multi-media cellphones to read and answer e-mails from instructors, read lesson plans, interact on student message boards, take tests, and upload assignments. Some students even use cellphones to complete assignments in a pinch, especially if they are temporarily without a computer.

New mini cellphone towers are yet another step toward making wireless Internet service available to the entire world.

Whether individuals live in the mountains, in city apartments, in remote towns, or on acres of isolated property, innovations like the mini cellphone tower make it possible for them to connect to the Internet and communicate across the globe.

So whatever else the “MicroCell” purports to be, it is progress.

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Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Health Care Jobs are Winners in March Employment Report

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Once again, health care is among the winners in jobs added to the economy, according to the March 2010 employment summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The report, released today, shows that health care gained 27,000 new jobs last month.

This is significant compared to the total 162,000 jobs added to all employment sectors in March.

And though the new jobs are a drop in the bucket, compared to the 15 million unemployed Americans, the positive numbers could signal the beginning of a lasting turnaround in the overall jobs market.

Two-thirds of the added health care jobs are in ambulatory health care services, while the rest fall under nursing and residential care.

Health care jobs have increased consistently throughout the recession. As economic recovery plods forward, the health care industry is growing at a more rapid pace than most other occupations — a fact confirmed by the BLS.

Nursing is the fastest-growing health care career, with more than half a million new nurses needed in the next few years. In addition, retiring nurses will exacerbate this need as an impending and critical nursing shortage looms over the future.

The passing of the recent health care reform bill is expected to generate even more jobs for doctors, registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, pharmacists, medical technicians, medical coding and billing personnel, health care administrators, physicians’ assistants, medical lab technicians, and others in the health care field.

As President Obama’s health care legislation is implemented, tens of millions of new patients will be added into the medical care system. And increases in personal longevity, along with a rising older population, may propel health care employment above all major jobs categories.

Both on-campus and online degree programs offer job training and credentials for many of the best jobs in health care. Popular online degrees for nurses include the online RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) and the RN to MSN (Master of Science in Nursing).

In anticipation of future nursing shortages, creative rural communities, and other towns located far from college campuses, are experimenting with online nursing degrees that partner with local hospitals. They are “growing their own nurses” to help retain them in the communities in which they live, while offering flexible and comprehensive training programs.

Although the recent Employment Situation Summary continues to reflect a 9.7% unemployment rate, the report also indicates that economic recovery is alive and kicking in the health care industry.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida