As the federal government shutdown continues. the School of Continuing Studies is offering classes to all furloughed federal employees, free of charge, beginning today.

“Central to our mission is service to the community, particularly as we establish ourselves as good neighbors in our new downtown location,” Interim Dean of the SCS Walter Rankin wrote in an email. “We saw there was a real need in our local Washington, D.C. community to support those affected by the government shutdown, and we knew that we could react quickly to fill that need. Our students, faculty, staff and I all have family and friends who have been affected by the furlough and want to remain engaged and connected.”

In order to participate in the Georgetown Furloughed Employee Program, which is run through the Center for Continuing and Professional Education, interested participants must provide proof of employment by giving the name of their agency or organization, job title and contact information for an immediate supervisor. The program currently consists of six classes, including “Project Management Fundamentals,” “Manager as Coach,” “Ready, Set, Reset Your Social Strategy,” “Innovation and Leadership in Government,” “Patient Navigation Fundamentals” and “Global Trends in International Migration.” The classes, Rankin said, were chosen because of their relevance to government employees; the most popular class right now is “Innovation and Leadership in Government” with 100 students registered.

“I really think [the class] is testament to the type of knowledge and skills government workers are looking for,” Rankin wrote.

The courses are not for credit, but many are part of longer certificate programs, and interested students could enroll in additional courses within an SCS program to eventually receive an official certificate.

The courses, which are spread out over the next two weeks, generally run from approximately 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and range in length from one to three days. Class sizes vary in enrollment from 20 to 100 students for a total of 240 students; participants can only enroll in one course. Although the SCS originally only offered a total of 100 spots across all six courses, extremely high demand pushed the program to move to bigger classrooms and to open up additional seats. Regardless, there are still hundreds of federal employees currently on the waitlist, and the SCS is working to open additional courses. In the meantime, registration for new participants is closed.

“We are grateful to the community and media for their enthusiastic response to our furloughed employee program,” Rankin wrote. “We have been looking for new ways to engage with the local community, and I think this is a great example of how we were able to do just that. Georgetown’s ethos lines up perfectly with this endeavor, and we are humbled to extend the university’s commitment to the community through this program.”

Although it is possible that the shutdown may end before the last course ends Oct. 18, Rankin said that the SCS will strive to keep all currently scheduled courses open as planned.

“If the shutdown ends earlier, as we all hope will happen, we will understand that many students will not be able to complete these courses,” Rankin wrote. “There will be no academic penalty if a student cannot finish a course.”

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