Shippensburg University is helping the community adapt to new workforce realities with free, 90-minute virtual training sessions designed to cultivate the skills necessary for a virtual job search and remote small business operations.

New virtual lifestyles necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t likely to go away any time soon. The transition has left many stressed and struggling with their new reality, especially small businesses and those searching for work. Ship is responding to these challenges with a new series of training sessions designed to assist small businesses and job-seekers navigate a new, increasingly digital environment.

Workforce and continuing education coordinator, Natalie Toma explained, “The Office of Professional, Continuing and Distance Education is offering a series of noncredit offerings to help boost the workforce economy by bridging the gap to our local communities, small businesses, and job-seekers. These trainings will be short, non-credit, and virtual to offer the maximum amount of flexibility.”

The training is brought to the community through a partnership with the non-profit group, Downtown Organizations Investing Together (DOIT) in Shippensburg. Toma continued, “Thanks to the CARES Act grant funding [secured through DOIT], we are able to offer these trainings completely free!”

Program development from community input
The post-recession economy in the United States prompted a critical examination of the efforts of all four-year higher education institutions in preparing students for the workforce. Business closures, job loss, and pandemic era realities have brought a new sense of urgency for stronger workforce development to universities and colleges across the country.

Shippensburg University is responding as a steward to the region by rapidly innovating with a variety of professional development opportunities to meet the new workforce needs in the surrounding community.

The Remote Work Skills series was born from conversations with industry leaders from Shippensburg University’s President’s Industry Roundtable. With COVID-19, many employees suddenly needed training on “how to become a remote worker”. According to the Roundtable, training needed to consider the digital skills, foundational skills, and mental health aspects of this new work environment.

In addition, the trainings specific for job-seekers were also an expressed need through ongoing conversations with the South Central Workforce Investment Board, and are designed to help job-seekers both prepare for a remote work job opportunity and search for opportunities in a virtual world.

An initial set of Remote Work Skills trainings was offered in August with topics including self-management, time-management, and organization for working remotely, as well as leading remote teams.

In addition, with the funding opportunity through the CARES Act grant, Ship is expanding the offerings of the Remote Work Skills series to specifically focus on job-seekers in the remote environment.

Just the beginning; exciting new offerings

The Remote Work Skills trainings are an exciting initial step for Shippensburg University towards greatly expanding workforce and community development training initiatives.

Additional upcoming training and professional development areas include:

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Certified Bookkeeping Exam Preparation
  • Human Resources Certification Exam Preparation
  • Telehealth and the Skilled Helping Professional

In this regard, Shippensburg will also be holding a series of digital marketing sessions in December to help businesses respond online during the holiday season to navigate a new business environment where a strong virtual presence is vital to success. These trainings will focus on practical ideas for improving web and social media presence through basic search engine optimization, user experience, and content marketing techniques.

Shippensburg will also be publishing a non-credit catalog for the FIRST time, which will be available online shortly.

For more information 
If you are interested in learning more about the Remote Work Skills series or other planned Shippensburg University trainings, please get in touch with Workforce and Continuing Education Coordinator Natalie Toma at

Shippensburg University is also open for customized training opportunities utilizing Shippensburg University faculty for your business’s training needs. Please contact Mark Chimel at to discuss customized solutions. Shippensburg’s Office of Professional, Continuing, and Distance