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SMC adding new programs

Published 10:14am Thursday, February 11, 2010

Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees reviewed details of three new associate degree programs and four shorter-term certificate programs to the college’s academic offerings during its regularly scheduled meeting on the college’s Dowagiac campus Tuesday evening.

According to college President Dr. David Mathews, “SMC is constantly evaluating our mix of programs to prepare our students for the workforce or to prepare them for baccalaureate degree programs. Every one of the new programs is among the fastest growing and hottest careers opportunities nationally and will begin with the upcoming fall semester.”

The three new degree programs being launched are: Professional and Technical Communication, Theater Technology and Engineering Technology.

Each of these programs serves the dual purpose of preparing students for immediate employment and also lead seamlessly into four-year programs for students who wish to obtain a baccalaureate degree.

Associate Degree in Professional and Technical Communication

This degree prepares students for entry- level positions in technical writing and is also designed to transfer directly into the Bachelor of Science degree program in Professional and Technical Writing offered on SMC’s campus by Ferris State University.

The bachelor’s degree program can be used to prepare students for careers in technical writing, writing and writing for marketing and advertising, as well as preparing students for graduate degree programs in a number of areas including communications, law and other areas.

Associate Degree in Theater Technology

This degree prepares students to work in careers in theater, lighting or sound technician, costumer, stage manager or set fabricator or production manager.

“Surprisingly, there are an increasing number of jobs in our region,” said Dr. Diane Chaddock, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Local casinos and event theaters provide job opportunities while others are being created by the influx of ‘Hollywood’ type film making in Michigan.”

In addition, the theater technology program can be taken by high school students as a part of SMC’s Academy Program in collaboration with the Lewis Cass Intermediate School District.

Associate Degree in Engineering Technology

The field of engineering technology is a rapidly grow branch of the engineering.
Jobs in engineering technology require a minimum of an associate or a baccalaureate degree.

SMC’s new Associate in Applied Science in Engineering Technology was developed in collaboration with the College of Engineering at Western Michigan University.

It prepares students for work as well as for transfer to engineering technology programs at a number of Michigan and Indiana colleges and universities as well as Western Michigan University.

In addition to the new degree programs, four new shorter-term certificate programs designed to quickly provide students with skills for employment will begin this fall – Pharmacy Technician, Event Management, Home Health Aide and Digital Home Technology Integration.

Pharmacy Technician Certificate

This one-year certificate can be completed after the student earns 32 credits and prepares students to sit for a national certification examination.

Pharmacy technicians are listed among the “high growth occupations” for the tri-county area by the Michigan Department of Labor, Energy and Economic Growth (MDLEEG).

Home Health Aide Certificate

Home health aides are also listed among the fastest growing occupations in the tri-county region by MDLEEG.

This 12-credit certificate is a combination of SMC’s existing Competency Evaluated Nursing Assistant (CENA) program along with several other courses designed to provide students with the skills needed to work independently in the homes of their clients.

Event Management Certificate

This certificate is the first of SMC’s hospitality offerings – the creation of which has been partially grant funded.

The 18-credit program can be taken as a stand-alone certificate or as a part of SMC’s associate degree programs in business management or executive assistant.

In 2004, hospitality accounted for 32.3 percent of occupations in Michigan.
Now, travel, tourism and the restaurant industries are some of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world and by 2014 the projected amount of occupations for the tri-county area in hospitality alone will account for 34.3 percent of all workforce jobs, according to Michigan Works!

Digital Home Technology Integration Certificate

Digital Home Technology Integration is the installation and integration of various electronic systems in the home and business environment.

It is recognized nationally as one of the fastest growing career fields with a current growth of about 15 percent annually.

Career fields include security system technician, satellite, telecommunications cable and A.V. installers and network administrators.

Students completing the program are prepared to sit for a national certification examination.

This 14-credit certificate can be taken as a stand-alone program or as a valuable addition to degree programs in construction trades and computer sciences.

According to Dr. Fred L. Mathews, chairman of the board at SMC, “The faculty and administration are to be commended for their work with Ferris State University, Western Michigan University, Michigan Works! and area employers in putting together this impressive set of additions to SMC’s offerings.

“Southwestern Michigan College and other Michigan community colleges are critical to transforming Michigan’s workforce into a higher skilled-higher pay state. Elevating the skill level of our citizens is the key to Michigan’s economic revival. SMC will continue to play a vital role in this region to accomplish this goal.”

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