Western Nevada Community College has been approved to offer its first bachelor's degree, following a unanimous vote today by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. Perhaps as early as fall 2007, a Bachelor of Technology degree program in Construction Management will begin for those seeking a career or looking to advance in the construction industry.
Western currently offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Construction Technology - Project Management. Now the college will ask permission from its accrediting agency, the Northwest Association on Colleges and Universities, to expand its mission to include bachelor's degrees as well as associate degrees and certificates of achievement.
The 128-credit program is designed to attract and retain new students as well as skilled workers, and provide an educational route toward a career as a construction manager.
"It's great that we've been able to put this together for the community and students seeking a four-year degree," said Gene Martin, WNCC construction technology instructor. "It has been well received by the industry in the area. They have been behind us all the way."
The need for more highly prepared employees in the construction industry has been identified by community businesses in northern Nevada. In addition, the just-released NorthernNVision economic development report for western Nevada reiterated the need to expand the opportunities for residents to earn a bachelor's degree.
Graduates with the Bachelor of Technology degree in Construction Management are expected to fill the shortage of construction managers in the area, according to Martin.
"It is time to see technology programs as 'ladders' where a student can indeed step off with a certificate of achievement or associate degree, but can also continue on, or return later, to complete a baccalaureate education and prepare for a life of continual learning," said Dr. Carol Lucey, WNCC president.
Skilled workers will be able to enter the program at the level that fits with their prior experience and education. Students can begin with dual credit courses in local high schools, continue with an associate degree in Construction Technology, and then move to the Bachelor of Technology degree.
The college will be able to use existing facilities and equipment in the new program. "We are excited about this and the students are too," added Martin. "We currently have 46 students enrolled in construction technology and I project 15 of them will go for their bachelor's degrees."
Martin said he expects that some classes will meet in the evenings to accommodate students who will be working while going to college.
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