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How Latinos Can Continue Education During COVID-19

Latinos learning remote
In wake of COVID-19, many companies and trade associations are now offering free education.

For many Latinos who have lost their jobs with no chances of pursuing work-from-home, there are vocational and skills training programs offered online that can be pursued in the meantime.

As many people are contemplating enrolling in an online course or program to gain more skills and education during this time of crisis, there are a few things to consider when making that choice. The most important one is to investigate if the course or program is offered fully online on a permanent basis.  

Remote Learning

As all schools and universities have turned their in-person classes into a remote (online) format for the coming months, careful planning should be given if one is interested in pursuing an online education as schools and universities could resume their classes in the classroom in the near future. At the moment, all courses and programs seem to be “online,” but one needs to differentiate between the ones that are always offered online, including with all corresponding student services and requirements (like thesis defenses for master’s programs).

Affordability is also another important aspect of someone’s decision. There are many public schools and universities, including community colleges, that were already offering online-only courses and programs, from learning a foreign language to learning software coding.

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For four-year universities, those type of short-programs or courses are mainly offered by their extension school (also called “continuing education”). The drawback of extension courses and programs is that they are not available for financial aid funding. But those state-sponsored programs usually charge low tuition compared to programs from private schools or universities.

If paying for an education or training program is beyond one’s reach at the moment, then there are free courses or even programs to consider from reputable sources, such as Coursera.com, edX.org, University of the People, and the Saylor Academy.  Most of their courses and programs can also be earned with a certificate for a small fee.

Accreditation

Another aspect to keep in mind when opting for additional education and training, especially on a long-term basis with a college degree, is the accreditation of the school or university. Undergraduate and graduate degrees that are accredited are usually required when applying to a job that demands a college degree. One can easily find out of the accreditation of a school or university by visiting their website.

For further details of the accreditation or tuition expenses of a school, one can also consult the information from the U.S. Department of Education through the National Center for Education Statistics “Find Your College” site.  One can find Information from graduation rates to tuition and other fees.

Also, one can consider the resources available from the federal and state governments. There are several government-sponsored programs for employment training, especially geared towards the unemployed. A good one-stop center of information is the employment agency of a state or even of the city where one resides. A central outpost with information is maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop, an online resource center with information for every U.S. state.

Lastly, due to the unemployment crisis that COVID-19 has created, now many companies, including professional and trade associations, are offering free online training for vocational or short-term training.  For example, one can find free training for completing a professional certification like the one from CompTIA, an IT professional association offering free online training to individuals in need of IT training. 

Free Training

Even for vocational jobs, one can find support from an industry association, such as the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute that are offering free training online for gaining skills and certification in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

There are many good online programs offered by schools and universities outside the U.S. that are worth investigating as well as some might be more affordable due to currency conversions.

During this time of crisis and with no stable forecasts of unemployment numbers for the near future, millions of Americans are finding themselves in a waiting state. The decision to pursue additional education and training is ultimately an individual one, but we need to reach out and find out of some of the options available to us that could bring a bit of peace of mind through preparation.

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About the author

Claudia Araiza

Dr. Claudia Araiza has held positions in various capacities in business, academic, and governmental settings ranging from business and economic analysis, business development, academic administration, research, teaching, and online course development. She is a graduate from San Diego State University with a BA degree in International Business and Economics and an MA degree in Economics. She received her PhD in Economics from Claremont Graduate University. She lives in San Diego,California.

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