Local colleges offer new programs in high-demand careers
BY JEAN GUARINO For Sun-Times Media
Today the challenge facing local colleges and universities is identifying emerging industries and professions that are experiencing rapid growth in their area and developing new degree and certificate programs that will provide needed skills for workers in these fields.
This has become the No. 1 priority at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn where 33 new degree and certificate programs have been introduced during the past two years.
“In this difficult economy we’ve chosen not to wait for the recovery, but rather to contribute to it,” said Glenda Gallisath, associate vice president for academic affairs at COD. “We’ve done this by working with businesses and industries in our area to identify new jobs that are being created – and then developing programs that provide the skills needed to fill these new positions.”
The field of criminal justice is expected to continue to grow in the next decade. To prepare students for careers in its three major components – law enforcement, courts and corrections – COD opened the 61,000-square-feet Homeland Security Education Center in June.
This center will educate emergency personnel in disciplines that include anti-terrorism, hazardous materials and emergency medicine. The facility also includes realistic environmental space with streets and building facades.
A new degree now being offered at the center is a homeland security degree designed for students pursuing careers in law enforcement, security and emergency preparedness. It includes strategies for preventing and responding to terrorism, natural disasters and other catastrophic events.
The hospitality industry is another growth field that projects an increase of 2 million jobs by 2016. COD’s Culinary and Hospitality Center – equipped with a kitchen, bake shop, market and restaurant – is another new facility designed to meet this need. One of the new and specialized courses offered at this center is a wine appreciation and knowledge certificate.
The Illinois Institute of Technology began offering four new undergraduate programs in the College of Science and Letters last fall.
“Two of these degrees reflect a greater demand for scientific education in fields not traditionally associated with the ‘hard’ sciences,” said Evan Venie, associate director of media relations.
The Bachelor of Science in Sociology focuses on technology, science and the built environment and prepares graduates for jobs in nonprofit organizations, civil service, research and marketing. The Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences allows students to analyze global issues from multiple perspectives and prepares them for careers in political science, economics, anthropology and urban planning.
The demand for more and better science education in the United States influenced IIT’s two new science education degrees. The Bachelor of Science in Biology with Secondary Education Teaching Certificate helps students meet the growing demand for high school biology teachers. The Bachelor of Science in Physics Education also allows students to fulfill both physics and education requirements to become a high school teacher. Both degrees include internships in a Chicago area high school.
In addition, the IIT College of Architecture is offering a new dual degree: Master of Architecture and Master of Integrated Building Delivery. This degree is accredited by the National Architectural Accreditation Board and is a necessary component for licensure in the field. Upon completion, students will have the skills necessary to understand the broader and complex processes of both design and construction.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care is expected to generate 3.2 million new jobs in the United States by 2018, more than any other industry. Local colleges and universities are responding to the challenge of educating students for these emerging careers – many that didn’t even exist 20 years ago.
Last year DePaul University established a new College of Science and Health. An immediate outgrowth of this new school is the creation of a new undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences.
Students working toward this degree select one of two concentrations: bioscience focusing on public health, nursing, therapy, pharmacy, podiatry, dentistry and other specialties or health care practice and policy, a concentration in public health, health education and administration.
Indiana University Northwest in Gary is now offering a Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling with Specialization in Drug and Alcohol Counseling. This graduate degree is a prerequisite for counselors in states such as Indiana that require counselors to be registered.
Lewis University in Romeoville will introduce its second doctoral program in the fall 2012 semester with the Doctor of Nursing Practice from the College of Nursing and Health Professions.
The DNP curriculum will provide course and clinical work beyond the master’s level that includes advanced knowledge in health policy, ethics, evidence-based practice and epidemiology as well as business and financial skills.
JEAN GUARINO is a local free-lance writer.