Valley Voices

Striving to boldly serve working adults at Fresno State

Scott Moore
Scott Moore / Special to The Bee

In a letter to the editor April 20, Matt Teresi encouraged Fresno State to “be bold” and offer more classes to students who are working adults. Teresi has a point, and the university is working on it. While Fresno State does not have a specific office for returning adults, we are building programs and opportunities that are friendly to full-time workers and the working adult population.

I would like to point out a few Fresno State programs and educational opportunities that might not be well known:

▪ Workforce-friendly degrees are offered year-around at Fresno State in business, at the undergraduate and graduate levels; public administration at the graduate level; and criminology, at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

These evening and weekend classes are ideal for career-minded professionals working 8-to-5 schedules. We also offer online graduate certificate programs in geographic information systems, and community and regional planning.

These enhance a student’s professional skills and position them for advancement in their careers. Additionally, our online medical-interpreting program has received significant praise for preparing students for a career in allied health.

▪ Career development is a priority for us and takes center stage at our new Downtown Center, a collaborative partnership with Bitwise Industries. Programs and workshops at the Downtown Center are cost-effective and deliver job and life skills in flexible program formats.

#BusinessUnbundled, one of the newest Downtown Center programs, teaches actionable business skills relevant to the tech industry, especially developers and entrepreneurs with the skills to build profitable companies and enrich the Fresno economy.

▪ Returning veterans are served through a unique educational program that helps them successfully transition from military life. The Veterans Education Program offers coursework and educational services vets needed to enroll in Fresno State as undergraduate, degree-seeking students.

Last month, seven veterans of the U.S. armed forces were honored for completing the Veterans Education Program. One of the students, Anthony Meza, made a presentation to the California State University Board of Trustees on March 8 about how the program has impacted his educational future.

Meza said: “I plan on getting my bachelor’s degree in nursing and applying for the Army’s Green to Gold program, where I can become an Army nurse while they help provide for my next level of education to become a family nurse practitioner.”

▪ Fresno State also provides university-level, non-credit courses, lectures and field trips for adults age 50 with its Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, now in its 11th year. Because the desire to learn has no age limit, hundreds of community members flock to these classes for the sheer love of learning.

▪ We also know that many people in the Valley began working on a degree at Fresno State then left to pursue employment. We are currently developing an exciting new online degree completion program to help support adult learners in the region.

It is designed for students who left the university several years ago in good academic standing before finishing their degrees. This program will provide a convenient opportunity for those in the Valley to complete their degrees through a one-to two-year online course of study.

This program has not yet received a thumbs-up from our accreditation agency and is a couple years away from debuting, so stay tuned!

Matt Teresi is correct that Fresno State has some room to grow serving the working adult population. That being said, we are proud of the opportunities that Fresno State is able to offer for educational enrichment at any age or stage of life. Learn more on our website, www.fresnostate.edu/cge.

Scott Moore, Ph.D., wears two hats at Fresno State. He is dean of Continuing and Global Education and interim executive director of the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

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