All posts by Marissa Poulson

About Marissa Poulson

Marketing Copywriter


Closing the Skills Gap in Wisconsin with Career Education and Training

Like many states, Wisconsin expects to see thousands of jobs created in the next five to ten years as the United States continues its slow recovery from the recession.

That’s the good part.

Now for the part that could be better…

Currently, there is a skills gap. In other words, some say that people don’t have the skills that will be needed to fill these positions.

A recent article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it this way, “Wisconsin will need an estimated 925,000 skilled workers by 2018 to replace those on the verge of retiring and to keep up with the creation of new jobs. About 588,000 of those jobs will require two years of postsecondary training.”

But it’s not just any kind of training. The biggest need is for people to get training that can help them fill positions in the local area. The article quotes Tim Sullivan, the Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment Chair, who says that “too many young people get a degree that doesn’t lead to a job and then have a “do-over” in the technical college system so that they are employable.”

Kind of sounds to me like it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to train for a career to begin with, don’t you think?

If you are the type of person who is thinking about getting started on your career path, consider giving Anthem College-Brookfield a call. Located near the Milwaukee area, Anthem College-Brookfield works to train students for careers in the healthcare field. Degree and diploma programs include: Massage Therapy, Medical Assistant, Medical Billing and Coding, and Surgical Technologist.

And best of all, a 2010 report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce says healthcare support positions in Wisconsin should account for over 100,000 new positions through 2018. According to the report, many of these positions will require at least “some college.”

If you would like to learn more about the programs and services at Anthem College-Brookfield, visit our website or call us today at 855.268.4368. We look forward to hearing from you!

Business Handshake

New College Grads See Better Employment Prospects for Second Year in a Row

Last April, we wrote a blog about hiring predictions for new college graduates. At that time, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported that hiring of 2011 graduates was expected to increase by a whopping 19.3 percent. It was a big step in the right direction after graduate employment prospects took a noticeable hit during the recession.

But what about this year?

Well, I am very happy to report that this positive trend is expected to continue!

Larry Gordon of the Los Angeles Times also cites findings from a recent report by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute, which says, “Employers are now more optimistic about the college labor market than at any time since 2007.” Being a 2009 graduate, I remember what it felt like during my last year of college. It wasn’t easy trying to figure out what I was going to do after I graduated. Plus, all the negative talk about unemployment, college graduates struggling to find work and having to compete with older, more experienced job candidates certainly didn’t help.

So believe me when I say this is good news. Granted, overall unemployment rates for college graduates under the age of 24 is still too high (6.2 percent) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, their prospects continue to slowly improve, and are significantly better than people in the same age group with only a high school diploma (22.5 percent).

At Anthem Education schools and colleges, our work doesn’t stop with your education. If you are already enrolled in one of our career-focused programs, you know that we employ Career Services Advisors at each of our campuses who are dedicated to supporting you in your job search. And best of all, their services are available even after you graduate!

If you’ve been thinking about getting started in a new career field and want to learn more about our programs and the services, please visit the Anthem Education website or give us a call at 1.866.381.6397. We would love to help you find the program that’s right for you!

musical chairs

Education, Job Skills, Employment and Musical Chairs

Have you ever played musical chairs?

You make a circle or square or some other shape out of chairs and everyone starts walking around them when the music starts playing. When the music stops, everyone rushes to sit in a chair. People who can’t find a chair to sit in are out of the game. It’s all good fun…until you can’t find a chair.

Seems simple enough, right?

Well in an interesting twist, I just read a special report from the Lumina Foundation that associated the job skills, education and employment puzzle with a game of musical chairs. Well, two games to be exact. Here’s what it said:

“Occupations that require higher-level skills — healthcare, for example — are growing. Low-skill jobs aren’t exactly disappearing, but their numbers are shrinking, leaving more workers competing for them…”

Now here it comes!

“…It’s like two games of musical chairs, where chairs are taken away from one game — the one for low-skill workers — and added to the game for workers with the skills and knowledge that today’s workplace demands.”

You know, a lot of times I read these 100+ page reports and I just get lost in a sea of data, graphs and conclusions that make little sense to me. But this…this I can picture in my head. I can see it. And it makes sense:

If you want a job, you have greater odds of finding one if you have a skill set that meets the needs of today’s job market.

Let’s roll with the healthcare example.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to see some of the most job growth in the healthcare sector (5.6 million jobs) through the year 2020. Obviously, they need people who can fill those positions. However, if you only have a high school diploma, you can’t expect to be hired for one of those positions, right?  You need the skills that qualify you to work in the healthcare industry and in a specific field in that industry, such as a Medical or Dental Assistant, Surgical Technologist, Pharmacy Technician, etc.

So how do you get those skills? Education and/or training. Earning a post-secondary diploma, degree or some type of credential from an accredited post-secondary institution can help you learn the skills and knowledge you need for today’s job market.

Anthem Education offers a variety of career-focused degree and diploma programs that help train students to prepare for careers in the healthcare, business, technology, legal and veterinary technology fields. And with 22 campuses across the United States and Anthem College Online, we are not hard to find!

Visit the Anthem Education website to learn more about our programs and services or call us today at 1.866.381.6397. We look forward to hearing from you!

Instructor with Students in Computer Lab

Interested in Computers? There’s More Than IT Out There!

What do you picture when you think of a person who works with computers?

It’s no secret that the ideas of a “computer geek” or “computer nerd” have worked their way into our stereotypes. Think characters such as Steve Urkel and the guys on the Big Bang Theory.  Or maybe Matthew Broderick in WarGames. I’m told he was the essence of “computer geek” back in the 80s.

But times are slowly changing according to a recent article in The New York Times.

Working with computers no longer means you have to be male, love video games and speak ‘Programming’ as a second language. And in today’s society, working in the technology field can be a great opportunity for people who are looking for a career that is expected to be around for a while.

Keeping that in mind, there are a lot of different options for people who are interested in working with computers.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published its redesigned Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2012-2013. One of the updates they made was adding more profiles for computer-related occupations, including: computer network architect, web developer, network and computer systems administrators, and database administrators.

The BLS also reports that employment for computer and math- related occupations is projected to grow by 22 percent from 2010-2020.

Are you interested in pursuing a career working with computers, but don’t know where to start? Consider getting your career-focused training at Anthem Education!

Our computer-related programs include:

Want to combine your interests in technology and healthcare? Consider training in Medical Billing and Coding or Health Information Management instead!

Visit the Anthem Education website today or call us at 1.866.381.6397 for more information about our programs and services!


7 Characteristics of a Great Teacher

What makes a great teacher? I’m sure you all have your own ideas and opinions on this subject, but have you ever wondered if there was evidence of specific characteristics of a great teacher?

In 2010, The Atlantic magazine set out to answer this very question with some help from Teach for America. The subsequent article, titled “What Makes a Great Teacher?” sheds some light on the traits that are often shared by the best and most effective teachers. According to their findings, great teachers:

  • Set big goals for students
  • Constantly reevaluate what they are doing
  • Enthusiastically engage students and their families into the process
  • Keep the focus on student learning at all times
  • Plan exhaustively and with a clear purpose
  • Work relentlessly no matter what kind of obstacles they or their students face inside and outside the classroom

Teach for America also notes the fact that great teachers check frequently with students to make sure they understand what’s being taught. However, it is more than asking students if they have questions. I’m sure many of you can remember a time when you were confused about something, but when the teacher asked if anyone had any questions, you were too nervous or embarrassed to ask about it.

Well, great teachers have to get creative and find ways to get the feedback they need to make sure students understand.

Take Allen Wiseman, for example. Wiseman is a general education instructor at Anthem College – Maryland Heights who recently spent 15 weeks observing another instructor’s class. His goal was to identify and evaluate teaching methods that increased student engagement in the learning process and would help make him a better teacher.

One thing he noticed in his colleague’s class was that the teacher asked lots of questions and refused to answer them himself. Students could only squirm in silence for so long before someone spoke up. Asking multiple questions helped point students in the direction of the correct answer while increasing their understanding of the concept being taught.

You can read more about Wiseman’s experience in his paper: Classroom Observations.

Anthem Education is dedicated to employing great instructors who are passionate about the subjects they teach and have professional experience in their fields. Learning from experienced instructors is an important part of our students’ education because our programs help train them for specific careers.

If you would like to learn more about our programs and services or find a campus near you, please visit our website.

Tell us: Have you experienced what it’s like to have a great teacher at Anthem? Who was it and what makes him or her “great” in your opinion?


Career Colleges and Other For-Profits Still Tops in Enrollment Growth

And the trend continues!

Last year, the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reported that for-profit colleges showed the most growth in enrollments for 2009. This year, the story is pretty much the same.

According to an article for Inside Higher Ed, enrollment in for-profit colleges grew by 8.3 percent for fall 2010, compared to 2.3 percent at public universities, and 2.4 percent at private nonprofit schools. 

So why might more students be enrolling in for-profit colleges, many of which are vocational schools that provide training for specific career fields?

Wait, did I just answer my own question there?

Seriously though, while there is no singular reason that shows why for-profits are seeing more growth in enrollment, there is no arguing that jobs are still hard to come by and many employers are looking for a specific set of skills.

The healthcare sector, for example, which is expected to see the most job growth from 2010-2020, tends to require some form of post-secondary education and/or training.  Schools and colleges that offer healthcare programs help provide the specific career training that students need to enter a field without having to jump on the traditional 4-year public university train.

Are you interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field, but don’t know where to start? How about starting by getting trained and developing skills for a specific career, such as Dental Assistant, Medical Assistant, Medical Billing and Coding, Pharmacy Technician, Surgical Technologist,  or Limited Scope X-Ray Technician!

Many of the 23 Anthem Education schools and colleges offer career-focused training programs for the healthcare field. Visit our locations page to find a campus near you.

If you don’t see one nearby, don’t worry! Anthem College Online is the online division of Anthem College and also offers healthcare-related programs, such as Medical Office Administration, Health Information Management, Healthcare Management, and Medical Assistant.

Visit the Anthem Education website to learn more about our programs and services. You can also call us directly at 1.866.381.6397 or click the “Chat Live” button at the top of the page to chat  now with one of our online representatives.

Smiling Nurse January 30, 2004

Young Parent Gets New Start with Medical Assistant Training

By Bob Cohen

Alexis Lewis, 20, from Jackson, California, dropped out of high school after her baby was born.

“It wasn’t easy for me to keep up with everything,” she recalls.

Alexis had just turned 17 at the time.

She worked at Mickey D’s before finding a better paying job as a receptionist. One budget cut later, however, Alexis was out of work.

A friend was attending Anthem College – Sacramento so she decided to check it out. Alexis had always enjoyed helping people, so the school’s Medical Assistant program appealed to her.

“I started the program, didn’t like it very much, and decided I would try something in the law field,” she says.

Alexis enrolled at a different program at another school, but began to regret her decision. “I ended up not liking that program and missed going to school to become a medical assistant. I just went back to Anthem after that,” she says.

“I am glad I went [to Anthem]. I loved my teacher. I am still in telephone contact with some of the staff. I am glad I was able to get a lot of encouragement to stick it out and to finish it.”

More encouragement than she received in high school?

“Oh yeah,” Alexis says with a laugh. “Even when I went to the other college with the law program, it wasn’t the same. At Anthem…I think that a lot of the teachers and the head coordinators of the programs and other staff members all get involved and they make sure that they get to know you as a person. I really liked that. I like the fact that they actually took the time, and we weren’t just passing each other in the hallways. “

Had she received the same level of attention in high school, Alexis thinks the result would have been very different. “When you receive your grades in the mail and you see that you are failing all your classes…and you don’t know how to ask for help, and when you do ask for help they are not really taking the time to help you, it makes you feel like you are not ever going to get it. Being in high school was a lot different than going to the college.”

Alexis completed the medical assisting diploma program and her externship turned into a permanent hire. Today she works for a family practice physician in Folsom, California. “I like being there.  It is very fast paced. The day goes by fast,” she says.

Alexis was able to enter Anthem’s Medical Assisting program without a high school diploma by passing an Ability to Benefit (ATB) test. By doing so, she became eligible to enroll and to receive federal student aid.

Like many young people, Alexis needed a second chance at education to find her footing. Unfortunately, others may not be so fortunate. Congress cut funding for ATB students to receive federal student aid, beginning July 2012.


Health Information Management & New Media are 2 Hot College Majors

In September, the U.S. News and World Report published a list of 9 Hot College Majors. According to writer Christopher Gearon, the majors on the list were developed in the last 5 to 10 years because of  new technology or business practices, or because the field has seen a recent increase in the demand for workers.

Anthem Education  schools and colleges offer career-focused training programs in a variety of fields. Two of the majors on the list correspond with programs offered at some of our schools: Health Information Management and Web & New Media Design.

Number 4: Health Information Management

“The need is huge for professionals who can help acquire, manage, and use information to improve health and manage payments.” 

Students can earn an associate degree in Health Information Management at Anthem College Online and Anthem College-Atlanta. The Atlanta campus also offers a Health Information Management Diploma. These programs prepare students to compete for entry-level positions in doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, surgical centers, and related businesses.

At the Atlanta campus, students take clinical and administrative courses. Classes cover topics such as human body support and systems, medical terminology, billing and coding, and information technologies. Students must also participate in two externships before graduating.

The Health Information Management program at Anthem College Online provides flexible learning for busy students. One of the highlights of the program is a capstone course that uses a simulated medical office where students can practice their skills.

Number 8: New Media

“Colleges are offering a slew of variations under the New Media umbrella, combining traditional journalism or communications studies with digital media and design.”

Anthem Institute-Cherry Hill and Anthem Institute-Springfield recently rolled out a new Web & New Media Design program. The program is designed to give students the skills and knowledge they need to create attractive and effective websites.

In this program, students will get hands-on using industry-standard technologies to design and create websites and webpages. They will learn web scripting and database design for the web. They will also learn key skills for project planning, producing, and managing websites.

If you are interested in learning more about these programs, please visit the Anthem Education website or call us directly at 1.866.381.6397

Pharmacist Pouring Pills into Bottle

Anthem College Graduate Benefits from New Career Plan Later in Life

By Bob Cohen

Stephen Senter, 58, of Portland, Ore., knows a thing or two about hitting the career reset button—particularly in a difficult economy.  Now a pharmacy technician at a local Rite-Aid drug store, Senter has been a long-haul truck driver, a golf professional and a very successful salesman of utility buildings.  When the recent economic recession collapsed his booming career in building sales, he opted to reinvent himself once again, enrolling in a Pharmacy Tech diploma program at Anthem College in nearby Beaverton.

Senter acknowledges that going back to school at age 57 was a bit intimidating.  But the future pharmacy technician also knew he was good in math and science, having taken trigonometry and calculus in high school, so technical topics like applied math would be no problem.  As a young man, Senter had actually started out to become a teacher, only to find that he lacked the temperament to be cooped up in a classroom with young children all day.  Instead of completing his degree, Senter hit the road, driving long-haul trucks across the American west.

“There were aspects I enjoyed – like getting out and seeing places,” he recalls.  “I was not attached at the time so there wasn’t any reason I needed to be home.  It was OK.  And for a kid, I was making pretty good money at the time.”

But not good enough to park his higher education aspirations.  Senter returned to the Oregon College of Education, hoping to parlay interdisciplinary studies in photography, science and languages into a career filming science documentaries.  Instead, he got married, left school once again without a degree, and started a series of jobs, including bartending.

Working nights, Senter became interested in golf during the day.  He set his sights on becoming a golf professional, and actually got his handicap below three strokes.  Senter became a club pro, and maintained his life on the links for the next eight years.

But the financial demands of a young family sent his golf career sailing into the rough.  He returned to driving trucks, short-haul rather than long-haul.  When an opportunity came along to sell “pole” buildings, post and frame structures used as horse barns, storage sheds and other utility purposes, he grabbed it.  Senter quickly found himself enjoying a measure of the good life – but not for long.  The recession changed everything, and suddenly Senter was out of work selling buildings and unable to find it doing anything else.

Then he hit the reset button.  An email alerting Senter to area pharmacy technician programs sent him looking at various options for schooling.  He had a good feeling about Anthem College, and was won over by the services and the price. “It was like walking into a family situation,” Senter says.  His mind was made up, and he never looked back.

Comparing his Anthem experience to earlier turns at the traditional state college, Senter says he found the one-class-at-a-time approach in his Anthem pharmacy program more intense and comprehensive—and more focused on the end result.  For Senter, this meant passing his national certification test on the first try, while still working at his externship.

“Anthem was a great experience,” he says.  “When you go out into the field, there is lots of stuff to learn… But I felt like I had a really good [knowledge] base to go out on… [I could] sit down and interview with somebody and say, “Hey, this is my knowledge base.  I expect to learn more.  Hire me.”  I felt really comfortable about what Anthem had done for me.”

Senter acknowledges that he is now starting again at a low rung on the career ladder, but hopes to do a good job and move up.  Although he has incurred debt in order to follow a new career path, Senter says he has no regrets. “Everyone I’ve talked to was amazed I made that decision and have been very supportive.  They all think it was a great idea.”

Front view portrait of businesswoman smiling with arms crossed --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

3 Tips to Becoming a Leader – Not Just Another Manager

These days, a management position is something people work towards, but what makes a person qualified to be a manager? Often, a combination of education and experience prepares one to compete for management positions in their field.

In terms of education, programs that teach management skills can be a great jumping off point for managers in training. For example, at Anthem Education, management programs include Business Management, Healthcare Management, Health Information Management and a Master of Business Administration program.

If this is the direction you imagine your career path taking, have you ever considered becoming more than a manager? What I mean by that is have you ever considered becoming a leader?

You might think that being a manager and being a leader is the same thing, but that’s not necessarily true. According to an article for, there are a few things that leaders do that set them apart as leaders and not just another manager. Check out these three tips to becoming a leader:

Inspire your employees to perform well.

Managers are in charge of making sure things get done, right? Well, one way you can tell if someone is a leader and not just a manager is to consider how they get the job done. Do you think a leader berates or encourages the team? Do you think a leader inspires the team to work better or intimidates the team to work harder? So how are you planning on getting the job done?

Share and communicate your vision.

What’s the difference between a plan and a vision? A plan is an organized way of getting things done, but it’s hard to be inspired by a plan. If you want people to give their job their all, then it is important for them to see the bigger picture of what they are working for – the vision. Leaders can communicate their vision and show how each task plays a role in the overall picture.

Develop your management skills.

Whoa, wait a minute! Aren’t we supposed to be talking about leaders here?

Well, that’s just it. Leaders are also excellent managers. A true leader is on top of the management game, but also has the vision needed to advance the organization in the right direction.

Still confused about the difference between a leader and a manager? puts it this way:

Leadership in an organizational role involves (1) establishing a clear vision, (2) sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly, (3) providing the information, knowledge, and methods to realize that vision, and (4) coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members or stakeholders… Unlike management, leadership flows from the core of a personality and cannot be taught, although it may be learned and may be enhanced through coaching or mentoring.

As you work toward a management position, keep in mind the differences between a manager and a leader, and decide for yourself which one you want to be.

If you are interested in pursuing management opportunities, but don’t have the education and skills that can help you get there, consider learning more about Anthem Education.  Anthem offers multiple management-related programs, including Business Management and Healthcare Management, through its online division – Anthem College Online.

A few of the company’s local campuses also offer management-related programs, including a Management degree program and Master of Business Administration at the Morrison University campus in Reno, Nevada.

Visit our website to learn more about programs and services, or call us at 1.866.381.6397.