Marty Davis wants to tell you about continuing education at the University of West Georgia. He has seen its transformative power in the lives of students. At a personal level, he has lived it.
Davis, director of continuing education at UWG, gave a presentation recently before the Newnan Kiwanis Club, where he extolled the importance of non-degree programs in both career and personal development.
“I was in a job that did not suit my goals,” Davis said.
He wanted a new career. He also wanted a better work-life balance, and that included being able to spend more time with his family rather than being tied to a mobile device while at home.
Yet, how could he change careers when his resume – both work and education – reflected experience only in the industry he wanted to leave?
“I decided to take a human resources course online through UGA’s continuing education program,” Davis said. He loved it, and his success gave him the confidence to pursue a master’s degree. “I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for that first continuing education class.”
Continuing education classes are offered at both the UWG Newnan and Carrollton locations in addition to off-site and online options. They encompass courses, programs and workshops that do not add credit hours toward a degree.
Many courses, however, offer licensure or certification often crucial to today’s highly specialized workforce, providing an edge both in career placement and promotion. Students find that many of these courses are enjoyable and enriching, making off-work hours spent in the classroom even more rewarding.
Business contract training offers a choice of 300 classes for on-site instruction, meeting individualized needs of partners ranging from independently owned companies to large corporations. The classes are designed to improve performance and employee relations as well as create a strong and cohesive company culture. Examples include body language basics, conflict resolution, personal branding and public speaking.
Davis noted that professional and technical writing has proven to be popular recently.
“The class is not designed to teach grammar,” Davis said. “Rather, it assists associates in conveying a message to the public and painting a professional image of their organization.”
Professional development programs offer individuals professional designations or professional licenses for the state of Georgia.
Designations include certifications in approaches found in popular business models such as Six Sigma and Total Quality Management. Conversely, professional licensure courses are offered in fields where state law demands such credentials, like real estate or insurance agents.
“Word has really gotten out about our courses as people seek ways to gain certification without driving to Atlanta,” said Davis, stating the range of cybersecurity, communications and other courses available. “In total, we have close to 200 professional development courses, any of which we can offer through UWG Newnan.”
But not all of life is about work. Increasing skills can also be about hobbies and having fun. That is why UWG and UWG Newnan offer personal enrichment courses that include such activities as photography, ballroom dance, drone flight basics, knitting, pruning, sign language and activities for kids.
“We offer activities for kids that are learning-based while still having fun,” Davis said.
Classes for children are gaining popularity and have included bridge building with noodles and marshmallows as well as engineering with interlocking building blocks.
“We’re here and we’re available to the community both in Carrollton and in Newnan,” Davis said. “Our purpose is to serve the community, and we are always interested in ideas from individuals or from the business community.”
For more information and a list of current course offerings, visit the Department of Continuing Education’s website at www.westga.edu/academics/conted/index.php.