Developing Non-credit Healthcare Training Courses that Meet Industry Expectations

Two medical students studying in a classroom with laptops

We hear a lot about two- and four-year degrees and the work being done to help more people attain them. However, short-term certificate programs are also a viable alternative to help train people for much needed, and desirable job skills in fields such as healthcare. One program that has been successfully training students during the last 15 years is the continuing education program at Vincennes University Jasper Campus in Indiana. Approximately, 100 students per semester are enrolled at eight locations around the state.

Jim McFaul, director of the Vincennes Continuing Education program took time to discuss the work he is doing to develop and manage short-term, certificate programs that help non-traditional students gain usable skills they can then take into the workforce. Jim is also connected to the network of community members, businesses, and educators working together as part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Working with this group of people, Jim has been listening to local employers in the healthcare industry understanding the types of skills they need and then including them into the curricula.

The program has been meeting the needs of local businesses and has received positive feedback, especially from healthcare providers looking for medical assistants and phlebotomy technicians. Jim explains, “Just recently we received a phone call from one of the local hospitals asking us when our next group of medical assistants would be graduating because they were very pleased with the quality of the group from which they had hired previously.”

In this podcast we talk more in-depth about the program at the Jasper Campus, and explore these questions:

  • How can continuing education programs benefit the non-traditional student?
  • Why are some of your programs different from the traditional two-year degree programs?  
  • Will you talk about some of the programs you have developed and how they have benefitted the community?
  • How can colleges develop a similar type of program?



About Jim McFaul
Jim McFaul

Jim McFaul

Jim McFaul is the director of continuing education at Vincennes University Jasper Campus. He has been an administrator of continuing education programs since 1987 in both community college and large university settings, including Western Wyoming Community College – Kemmerer Outreach Office; Indiana University-Kokomo; and Western Michigan University. Jim earned a masters of art degree in Adult and Community Education from Ball State University in 1987.