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Empowered UCLA Extension Reinvents Education and Career Counseling for Today's Job Market


Empowered UCLA Extension Reinvents Education and Career Counseling for Today's Job Market Jul 2012

New Career Development and Certificate Program to Close the Skills Gap; 89 percent of HR hiring managers surveyed say certificates can help in changing careers

17 July 2012

Silicon Valley, Calif. (July 17, 2012) — Empowered UCLA Extension — a collaboration between UCLA Extension and Empowered Careers — announced today the launch of a new career development program available nationwide starting this fall, specifically designed for baby boomers seeking to make a career change, get ahead professionally or get back into the workforce.

Empowered UCLA Extension also announced the results of a recent survey of HR managers and recruiters across the country indicating that certificate programs are widely viewed as a viable way to close the skills gap and teach adults relevant job market skills.

UCLA Extension partnered with Empowered Careers — which was founded by the Sherry Lansing Foundation, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Poizner — to address the growing skills gap in America and significantly enhance online education for busy adults. Empowered UCLA Extension provides job-centric, twelve-month certificate programs designed for real-world employment needs, integrated with personalized career counseling.

The offering is an end-to-end solution, all provided online, that combines UCLA Extension professional education from a live instructor, who is an expert in his or her field, with hands-on, personalized career counseling. The program is delivered through a groundbreaking Empowered iPad app, which places a community of instructors, peers and career counselors, all just one tap away. To ensure maximum quality and interaction, individual class sizes are limited to approximately one instructor for every 25 students.

"Addressing the jobs crisis by closing the skills gap is the leading issue in our country today, and we have developed technology to help tackle this problem on a large scale," said Empowered co-founder and CEO Steve Poizner. "We are pleased that UCLA Extension chose to partner with us to help people start over without starting from scratch — a new and better way towards career empowerment and success."

Online classes will begin on September 24, 2012, in 10 certificate programs designed for areas of job growth, including Global Sustainability, Health Care Management, Nonprofit Management, IT Management, Patient Advocacy, College Counseling, Project Management, Financial Planning, Human Resources and Marketing & New Media. Classes are designed to be flexible to enable working adults to complete the program within 12 months. Additional certificate programs will be added next year.

Statistical data shows that hiring managers are becoming increasingly comfortable with applicants seeking to change or enhance their careers through completion of certificate programs.

In fact, in a recent study done by Impulse Research Corp, 82 percent of Human Resources managers and recruiters said that obtaining a certificate is one of the best ways for professionals to keep current or upgrade their job market skills and 89 percent said that obtaining a certificate is a helpful step in changing careers. Additionally, 75 percent of HR managers stated that if a job candidate cannot find work in a related field, they would consider a certificate program a good alternative for gaining related work experience.*

"In an extremely challenging job market where the old rules no longer apply, Empowered UCLA Extension is a quick way for people to gain relevant knowledge and practical tools needed to be successful in today's workforce," said Cathy Sandeen, Dean of UCLA Extension.

The competitive job market has placed increased demands on job seekers to update their skills. Many members of the baby boom generation — generally those born between 1946 and 1964 — are unable to retire due to financial constraints, thus increasing the need for education. Other boomers wish to move in a different direction, to establish an "encore" career in order to pursue a passion or to make a contribution in the education, health care or nonprofit sectors.

Importantly, Empowered UCLA Extension offers one-on-one, personalized career guidance and counseling integrated within the curriculum. Once enrolled, students are able to meet with their career counselors as often as they like, via face-to-face video chats, phone calls, email and group webinars. Students participate in a personalized 15-module Career Empowerment Program, including resume building, interview preparation, network building and other necessary career building skills. Dedicated career counselor support extends 24 months from the moment courses begin, to support the career success of students and alumni.

Further setting Empowered UCLA Extension apart from existing online education offerings is the platform through which all coursework and career counseling is delivered — the iPad.

"Using our app, the iPad will transform any adult's living room into a modern day classroom or transform a park bench into a study group while the kids are at soccer practice," said Poizner. "Empowered UCLA Extension students will be one tap away from an incredible community of instructors, career counselors and fellow students. We call this social learning. In the process, mid-career adults are engaging and learning to use and enjoy sophisticated technology, like the iPad."

Empowered UCLA Extension plans to reserve about 20 percent of all seats for full or partial scholarships. Celebrities from film and television have agreed to help promote the scholarship programs for those who need financial support.

"Empowered will arm this generation of Americans with the experience, knowledge and most up-to-date skills sought by employers in the marketplace today," said Michael Yanover, Head of Business Development at CAA and Empowered Board Member. "With the right tools, a plan and inspiration, these re-educated individuals will have the necessary skills to help accomplish their career goals."

Empowered UCLA Extension is available nationwide, and enrollment has started for fall 2012. Information on coursework, career guidance and scholarship programs can be found at www.empowered.com or call 1-800-EMPOWER.

UCLA Extension is the continuing and professional education division of the University of California at Los Angeles. UCLA Extension offers a broad spectrum of courses and certificates for professionals in business, management, engineering, information systems, entertainment studies, public policy, public health, the humanities and many other fields. UCLA Extension is a completely self-supporting enterprise, receiving no state or campus funds. Excelling in its quality, innovation and impact, UCLA Extension is considered one of the top programs of its type in the nation. UCLA Extension was one of the early adopters of online learning for continuing education, and nearly one-fourth of the 90,000 annually enrolled students are receiving their education online through Extension programs and conferences. Find out more at www.uclaextension.com.

Empowered UCLA Extension (www.empowered.com) is a unique, new, online educational experience that delivers the world-class professional training of UCLA Extension through Empowered's groundbreaking iPad app, combined with comprehensive career guidance for adults who need a career boost or change. Three of California's greatest assets are the academic excellence at UCLA, the technology and innovation of Silicon Valley and the power of the entertainment industry to influence social movements. We bring all three of these forces together to create a new opportunity for the millions of baby boomers and other adults who have been displaced in the workforce, are looking to enhance their current career, or are looking to make their next career move. 1-800-EMPOWER

Since 1982, Impulse Research has been an award-winning full-service communications and marketing research firm with significant experience and expertise in all public opinion research methodologies, receiving the Public Relations Society of America's Silver Anvil and the American Marketing Association's Effie Award for research supporting and evaluating public relations and marketing campaigns. (www.impulseresearch.com)

*This survey was conducted via telephone with a random sample of 303 Human Resource professionals and headhunters who work for small and medium/large companies throughout the country. Research was conducted in June and July 2012. All survey work was funded by Empowered Careers.

Media Contacts:
Victoria Rangel
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M: (310) 221-1489

Erin Kelly
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M: (425) 802-3565

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