Learning Exchange Centre turns 14, keeps growing

May 24, 2000|By DON AINES

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Fourteen years ago, Linda Blontz started the Learning Exchange Centre to fill a need she saw in vocational training in the area

"I felt there needed to be an alternative training option for people not interested in attending four-year degree institutions and for business people that wanted targeted training," Blontz said Tuesday at the school, which is expanding to meet changing workplace needs.

"We are adding additional classrooms, a conference room, a bookstore and additional courses" at the school at 28B Fry St., she said. One new course, Conversational Spanish, reflects the need of companies to communicate with the increasing number of Hispanic workers in the region. Orientation for it begins May 31.

"It's geared toward the workplace," Blontz said.

The private co-educational school, licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Licensed Schools, will add cost accounting, medical coding, two-hour computer workshops and a summer computer camp for children.


Blontz said new business and computer courses will be added in the fall, including computer numeric coding, a skill needed to program computers to operate machinery. She said the school has a Business Advisory Board recommend what courses need to be offered to remain current.

The Learning Exchange Centre has 10-month diploma courses in computer/accounting and computer/medical and an eight-month computer/business program. The school also has short-term business and medical courses, 18-hour computer courses and two-hour computer workshops.

Beverly Foreman of Chambersburg, Pa., took the diploma medical course three years ago, learning medical terminology, anatomy and transcription. She got a job in a doctor's office while still studying and is now a unit secretary at Chambersburg Hospital.

"Having taken the course got me in the door at the hospital," said Foreman.

Blontz said about half the school's students are in the medical program because of the demand for those skills. Diploma course students take classes in the morning and do internships in the afternoon, she said.

The school has a staff of five and employs contract instructors depending on the courses being offered, according to Blontz. Class sizes are limited to a dozen students.

The school has on-site instruction because some companies want employees trained on their own equipment, Blontz said.

For more information about courses and tuition, call the Learning Exchange Centre at 1-717-328-2964, or contact its Web site at

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