Responding to the needs of employers, Black Hills State University is launching a new degree program in engineering technology.
This change is part of a growing trend in higher education to align programs with needs of employers and the desire of students hoping to land a job after graduation, Rodney L. Custer, provost and vice president for academic affairs at BHSU, said Thursday.
"When they walk into that job interview, their transcript will show they have skill sets that match what the employers need," said Steve Wynia, assistant professor, college of business and natural sciences.
The Bachelor of Science in engineering technology program is an overhaul of the industrial technology program with curriculum changes that provide manufacturing and construction businesses with management-level employees.
Graduates of the engineering technology program will take courses in management and specialize in the technical aspects of either manufacturing or construction.
Recommendations for the curriculum came from an advisory committee of representatives from local construction and manufacturing firms, including members of Black Hills Home Builders Association, RPM and Associates, and Caterpillar, among others.
"There is a critical shortage of the skill sets we are teaching in the workforce right now," Wynia said.
Wynia is one of three professors based at the University Center in Rapid City, which serves as BHSU's central campus for the new degree. Classes will also be available on the main campus in Spearfish and at a satellite campus in Yankton at the Regional Technical Education Center.