University, companies unite to offer job-specific training

by Matt Chock

With the new economy becoming increasingly technology-driven, companies are requiring job seekers to have more specialized training in their specific fields of work.

To accommodate this, universities are collaborating with industry leaders in a number of professions to better prepare students for careers after graduation.

Leading efforts to improve student preparation at the University, the College of Continuing Education has developed a new set of programs within the bachelor of applied science degree program in response to industrial demand for a highly skilled workforce.

After fielding a number of requests from local companies, the University assembled focus groups that develop specialized programs to fit the needs of the different industries.

The college has already developed programs serving students in construction management, information networking and network administration.

Over the next year, the school will be adding radiation therapy, clinical laboratory science, manufacturing technology among other programs.

Partnered with the Fairview Medical Center, radiation therapy classes will attempt to provide students with additional opportunities to benefit from the attributes of both the Fairview Medical Center and the University.

Fairview has had the radiation therapy program for years but wanting to turn it into a full degree, it has decided to partner with the University.

“It works well. Fairview provides all the clinical instruction and the University provides the credit aspect,” said Joe Schmidt of the Fairview-University Medical Center.

Another program scheduled to begin the 2002 school year is the management technology degree.

Developed alongside companies such as IBM and Pemstar, the program aims to produce qualified leaders in the manufacturing field.

“We worked with some of the other companies identifying a need for people to have certain skills, and then we worked to find a curriculum that would teach the skills our companies were looking for,” said Bev Gerveveske of IBM.

The programs developed by these focus groups for the college of continuing education will produce students ready to serve their respective industries.

“Adults are able to earn bachelor’s degrees with enormous flexibility and assurance that their classroom experience will closely relate to the job descriptions of high level positions in the state’s most lucrative business segments,” said Aaron Berstler from the College of Continuing Education.

The program’s key attribute is that it is market-driven by industry needs.

Because the programs are shaped by companies who contact the University directly with their specific needs, the program is allowed to adjust to market trends and forecasts.

Matt Chock covers business and welcomes comments to [email protected]