Vocational Training Among Leading Trends in Christian Higher Education

Christian liberal arts colleges are providing vocational training as an integral part of the education offered to students, according to an international association of Christian colleges and universities.

Vocational training is among the leading trends in Christian higher education, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, which has 110 member campuses in North America and 70 affiliates in 24 countries, recently reported.

The report is part of CCCU's effort to commemorate the ninth year since Christian Higher Education Month was declared to take place in October. CCCU announced it will be spotlighting a leading trend in Christian higher education every Monday in October to celebrate.

"There is no doubt this is a critical time. Our member institutions stand on the threshold of providing students a sound education, preparing the next generation to meet the demands of a shifting world," said CCCU President Paul R. Corts in a statement.

"We take this month to acknowledge and celebrate the progress of Christian higher education and look to the future with clarity and excitement."

On Oct. 6, CCCU featured an article on different types of vocational training programs member campuses have offered in conjunction with Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), a non-profit organization which works educating people on concepts like market economics, entrepreneurship, and business ethics through educational outreach projects.

SIFE chapters can be found on 49 of the 110 member CCCU campuses in North America.

Through SIFE, participating students have learned business skills hands on, including teaching financial seminars to the community, selling hand-made jewelry through an e-commerce Website, and teaming up with other non-profit organizations on development projects abroad.

The SIFE chapter at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark., partnered with Helps International to replace the open indoor fire pits with concrete and cinder block stoves in villages of Santa Cruz, Guatemala.

The new stoves, which uses less than a third of the wood consumed by an open fire, served to help reduce deforestation, indoor air pollution and time spent maintaining the open door fire pits.

The John Brown SIFE team has installed approximately 400 stoves in Santa Cruz and neighboring villages, which has saved an estimated 42,000 trees and 189,000 man-hours each year, while reducing indoor air pollution by 99 percent, and greenhouse gases by 30 percent.

"JBU SIFE was the most rewarding college experience I had," said Guatemala-native Mirna Ordonez, according to CCCU.

John Brown University was among the several CCCU schools which earned top honors in regional and national SIFE competitions this year.

"SIFE challenges college students to get outside of their comfort zones and to create projects that really leave a lasting impact in the lives of others," explained Lisa Bloomquist, SIFE president at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, which won a regional competition.

"Being a member of my SIFE team has helped to shape my character, leadership abilities, and charisma for helping others while making the world we live in a better place."