Outside-the-box education

Claire Young

For graduating Weber State University students, it may seem that their education is finished; however, that is not necessarily the case. Graduating students may choose to expand their education even further beyond their formal university studies through continuing or community education classes.

Weber State's Community Education Center is located in Ogden, Utah. (Nikki Dorber/The Signpost)
Weber State's Community Education Center is located in Ogden, Utah. Photo credit: Nikki Dorber

Continuing education refers to post-secondary or informal learning. Many adults and university graduates participate in continuing education programs and courses in order to expand their knowledge of a certain topic, trade, skill or hobby in the hopes of developing professionally. These courses help to round out one’s resume and skillset and often prove helpful in pursuing different professions.

Most cities also offer a community education center where people may take different classes. These may include vocation training and retraining programs or leisure activities. Some examples of common community education courses include language, marketing, business, art, entrepreneurship, music, mental health management, exercise, creative writing and even cooking classes.

These classes are typically taught by a well-educated member of the community and often involve hands-on learning techniques. They are also normally held in the evenings or during the weekends to better accommodate the schedules of employed individuals or full-time students.

Ogden City has its own established community education center in direct conjunction with Weber State University. Weber State attendees and alumni are strongly encouraged to participate in their programs and courses to obtain a stronger, more complete education. These classes are typically held off-campus or online. The mission of these programs is to provide effective, yet attainable education to the general public; therefore, they are almost always free or low-charge.

Weber State's Continuing Education Center is located on Monroe Boulevard in Ogden, Utah. (Nikki Dorber/The Signpost)
Weber State's Continuing Education Center is located on Monroe Boulevard in Ogden, Utah. Photo credit: Nikki Dorber

According to Luis Lopez, the director of the Ogden Community Education Center, the overarching goal of their programs is to help under-served members of the community access post-secondary education.

In order to move forward with their goal of reaching and educating as many members of the community as possible, the Ogden Community Education Center has bilingual and multicultural staff who are equipped to teach many different subjects of value.

Another interesting facet of this community education center, as well as many others, is that students are able to request specific courses. If significant interest is shown in a program, the center will add it to its catalog and provide that learning to the public.

Continuing and community education courses and programs are very beneficial to cities and local communities in that they encourage social engagement, workforce participation and produce highly-educated individuals which, in turn, helps the economy. When people are more educated, they are generally more employable which allows them to better support themselves and their families.

Continuing education gives college graduates an even greater edge in the job market and even brighter future professional prospects.

Weber State offers a continuing education program in the heart of Ogden, Utah. (Nikki Dorber/ The Signpost)
Weber State offers a continuing education program in the heart of Ogden. Photo credit: Nikki Dorber