Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Workforce-WednesdayBy Michael Zitz, Director of Media & Community Relations, Germanna Community College

Germanna Community College’s Center for Workforce & Community Education has launched the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) created by a Virginia community college. It makes training in skills necessary to start up and run a small business available free of cost and accessible not only to the region and state, but to the nation and the world.

 Matt Armstrong of Reacht and Christine Goodwin of WishStars, two Fredericksburg entrepreneurs and startup activists, are subject matter experts who work with the Germanna Center for Workforce & Community Education and provide the instruction in the MOOC, which is available free of charge.

 Armstrong and Goodwin are also founders of FredXchange, which fosters startup activity in the Fredericksburg area.

 The MOOC, Armstrong says, makes knowledge of business concepts available to “anyone, anytime, anyplace,” free of charge

 The MOOC, officially live as of September 2014, is part of the Germanna Center for Workforce & Community Education’s SkillUpVA workshops designed to help people “skill up” or improve or gain the skills required to advance in today’s workforce.

 “You may have the idea that starts the next, that will keep people healthy, that will change people’s lives,” said Germanna Vice President for Workforce Jeanne Wesley. “You say to yourself, I have this great idea, but I know nothing about business, about sales, and I don’t know how to market.”

 Kim Rodenberg, Germanna Center for Workforce Business and Career Coordinator, said the SkillUpVA workshop series and the related free MOOC are all about providing basic skills needed to start up a company.

 Armstrong praised Germanna for being innovative and open to listening to new ideas and working with the startup community.

 “One of the objectives of SkillUpVA – and community college in general – is to provide a very accessible resource to the community,” Rodenberg said.

 Jonathon Perrelli, managing director of Fortify Ventures, an early stage technology investment firm based in D.C., praised the work Germanna is doing with FredXchange to create a climate conducive to a startup culture.

 “It’s amazing to see what has happened in Fredericksburg,” Perrelli said. He said Germanna Workforce Vice President Wesley’s “open door policy” has helped the local entrepreneurial ecosystem thrive.

 He said Germanna, working with local startup leaders including Goodwin and Armstrong, has “provided a platform for the startup ecosystem here that’s incredible.”'

Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 270,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

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