By Stephenie Steitzer
HEBRON - You don't have to go through security, but you have to do your homework.
That's the deal for students taking Northern Kentucky University classes at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Since the program's start three years ago, it has swelled in popularity. The number of classes offered and the number of students in each class has grown each semester, said Barbara Hedges, director of NKU's continuing education office.
"We're trying to be responsive to the needs of the community to retrain and do career changes," she said.
The university started out offering one course to about five people in 2000, Ms. Hedges said. Now, the university offers three courses each semester with enrollment of about 25 students per class.
Scott Thompson, a manager at DHL Worldwide Express, has taken five courses at the airport and is signed up for Aviation Marketing starting in January. He is working toward a bachelor's degree in organizational studies and is hoping that will help advance his career in aviation.
"The convenience is great because it's adjacent to the place I work," Mr. Thompson said. "I go from my office to class in minutes."
The convenience also extends to professors, many of whom are also airport employees.
Chuck Curran, a retired senior vice president of marketing for Comair, said many of his students would not be able to take the courses if they weren't offered at the airport.
"It seems if you make it convenient for people to attend, they are more likely to advance their education," he said.
Ms. Hedges said about 50 percent of the students taking the evening courses at the airport are non-traditional, older students. She also said the classes aren't limited to airport employees; many local residents and people who work nearby also take advantage of the program.
Toyota's large office complex is located close to the airport and a number of employees enroll in the classes. Parking for classes at the airport is free.
Students can be seeking a degree or just wanting to take a course for their own enrichment.
Enrollment is still open in Aviation Marketing, Personal Finance Management and Principles of Speech Communication. Prospective students should call the NKU Continuing Education Office at (859) 572-5601.
Students taking airport courses are charged the NKU Resident Tuition rate - $402 plus a $25 application fee.
Airport officials believe the education opportunities not only benefit individuals, but also the airport as a whole.
"Anytime you get a more educated worker you've got to help the airport," said airport spokesman Ted Bushelman. "That's the reason the airport likes these various classes. And I hope in the future they do more."
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