Junior Colleges, Small Schools Offer Options for Execs

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Byline: Louise Brass Contributing Writer

Executives with MBAs under their belts are finding a need to keep up with new technology especially social media and the latest ways to find global business opportunities.

Many local educational facilities are targeting those needs in offering new programs, certificates in the latest technologies and language courses such as Russian, Spanish and Japanese.

Junior colleges are providing more courses to attract executives looking to brush up on particular skills and keep their companies competitive.

Learning the nuances of social media marketing is important today in helping businesses grow, or even just stay afloat, educators say.

But there's a catch.

While traditional marketing requires tenacity and direct targeting of potential customers, social media use for advertising requires a kinder, gentler approach, said Amy Murphy, director of corporate and community services at Joliet Junior College in Joliet.

"We are noticing a trend, especially in smaller sized businesses of 100 employees or less. We are noticing an increasing amount of individuals coming for training in social media," Murphy said.

The number of executives wanting to learn about social media has exploded with 450 people in the past year taking business courses at JJC.

"What they (executives) are finding is that the cost of placing ads on Google and ads on Facebook is much greater than actually getting educated on what the programs are and what really is more beneficial to their businesses," said Murphy, who advises taking it slow when getting into the various types of social media for business uses to avoid problems. And, it is important to carefully monitor the results of each method.

"If you are out there and you just try to do a hard-core sales program, people are going to get turned off. They can like you as quickly as they can unlike you. That's just in the Internet world of social media," she said.

The world of competition has prompted trends in program offerings at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, where Joe Cassidy is dean of continuing education/extended learning. …