PINE RIVER — Central Cass County residents who have considered seeking a two- or four-year college degree to improve their employment soon will have an opportunity to take their classes at Pine River if enough people show interest.
Central Lakes College is partnering with the Cass County Economic Development Corp. and Pine River-Backus Schools to make this possible, but 15 people must register for each class to make it economically feasible.
Those interested in learning more may attend a June 20 information meeting at Pine River-Backus School from 5 to 6 p.m. and register for classes from 6 to 8 p.m.
Credits earned at the classes in Pine River can transfer to Central Lakes College or to any Minnesota two- or four-year college to complete a degree, according to Gail Leverson, Cass County EDC director.
The class schedule is designed to permit people who work summers or days year-round to be able to complete the classes by attending one to three evenings a week from October through December. If there is enough interest, additional classes would be offered in a spring term that ends in April.
The proposed fall schedule includes SPCH 1410 Introduction to Communications Studies (three credits) that is designed to introduce students to speech communications on interpersonal, small group and public speaking levels. That class would meet from 6 to 8:50 p.m. on Tuesdays, Oct. 4 to Dec. 13.
CCST 1587 Topics in Reading (3 credits) would meet from 6 to 8:50 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 5 to Dec. 14. The course focuses on reading skills needed to be successful in college.
PSYC 2421 General Psychology (four credits) is a general introduction to psychology as a bioscience, covering research, the nervous system, learning, personality, memory, psychological disorders and therapy. This class would be one of the required classes for health care and education degrees. It would meet from 6 to 8:50 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 6 to Dec. 15.
Leverson encouraged anyone interested in furthering their education to attend the informational meeting to learn more about degree programs available and to let Central Lakes representatives know more about their class interests.
Some Central Lakes classes also are available on-line. To learn more about those, attend the information meeting and check the college website at www.clcmn.edu <http://www.clcmn.edu/> .
Leverson noted the difference higher education can make in an economic downturn. In 2009 in Minnesota, 19.2 percent of people without a high school diploma were unemployed. Those with only a high school diploma experienced 8.9 percent unemployment, while only 6.6 percent of those with a two-year degree and 3.4 percent of those with a four-year or higher degree were unemployed.
People seem to recognize this, she said. In 2006 and 2007 about 50 Pine River area residents registered for Central Lakes College classes in Brainerd. By 2009 and 2010, the number of Pine River registrants had jumped to 90 and 98, respectively.
Having classes available at Pine River also will make it more convenient for Walker, Hackensack and Backus residents to take advantage of them, Leverson said.