Human Resource Assistant Certificate Program to Launch Online

Release Date: April 6, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A certificate program unique to the University at Buffalo's Millard Fillmore College (MFC) that prepares individuals for a supporting role in human resources is going global. The Human Resource Assistant Certificate Program debuts this month as an online course accessible 24/7.

Through 11 instruction modules, the HR function is covered from "A to Z" over 10 weeks. Course curriculum and instructional material is based on MFC's classroom version, developed by certified Human Resource Management Professional Harry Cardin, Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Both online and traditional programs are offered through a partnership between UB and the Buffalo Niagara Human Resource Association (BNHRA).

"There really is no program available for people who want to come into the human resource discipline, or addresses the need for those who are changing jobs or careers," Cardin says. "We are beginning to realize the growing demand for this program, as calls and requests for an online class are coming in from across the country, including Houston, Chicago and San Diego."

Registration is open until class begins on April 23. Course and registration information is available at

"The course provides a solid foundation for someone starting in the role of human resource assistant or human resource coordinator," says Sue Czyrny, SPHR, implementation consultant at ADP Major Accounts and a member of BNHRA. "It is also great for the non-HR person who may have to assume some of those tasks due to cutbacks."

The program's target audience extends to business owners -- especially entrepreneurial startups -- who understand that one misstep may easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation. There's a substantial learning curve to navigate, as regulations surrounding issues such as compensation, benefits and labor laws grow and become more complex.

Participants will receive a comprehensive overview of HR management and learn about a multitude of topics, including recruitment and selection, employee relations, performance management and benefits administration. The course can serve as a refresher for practitioners working in the industry, or for those in specialized niches who want to switch to a different area of concentration.

"HR has changed in the last 30 to 35 years, from keeping the keys of the company and running the picnics to leading the organization to act a certain way," Cardin says. "There are so many laws you have to deal with."

As BNHRA workforce readiness director, Pam Nicastro works to cultivate a workforce able to support employer needs. She agrees that as "keepers of the culture," strategy has emerged as a strong facet of any HR role. She notes that the job has become increasingly analytical to support company growth, in addition to managing record-keeping and legal issues, and ensuring there is a talent pool from which to draw.

Nicastro, SPHR and human resources director of Kenmore Mercy Hospital, believes that a firm grasp of MFC's course components can "help a business's core foundation be sound, from an operations standpoint."

An estimated 150 people have completed the classroom version of the certificate program. Many use it as a springboard for applying for assistant-level positions. Others who have taken it include a business owner who realized he could have saved $50,000, had he taken the course earlier.

"The course will pay for itself if it prevents you from having one audit by the state or federal government," Nicastro says.

The online text-based course incorporates assignments, audio presentations, and pre- and post-tests for each module. Students interact with instructor Cardin through email and other electronic forms of communication.

The course fee of $550 covers registration and notebooks containing program content. An additional textbook may be required.

A UB Certificate of Completion and 4 Continuing Education Units are awarded to students who satisfactorily complete all modules.

MFC expects to offer the online Human Resource Assistant Certificate Program several times per year. For more information, contact MFC Associate Dean Larry Gingrich at 716-829-3131.

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Ellen Goldbaum
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