Five new degree programs have been added to the repertoire of three of the Pennsylvania State System of High Education (PASSHE) schools. Two of the five programs have been specifically designed to address the growing needs of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania.
Students now have the option to pursue an Associate degree in either applied technology at Edinboro University or natural gas production at Mansfield University, a Bachelor's degree in safety management at Mansfield, or a Master's degree in clinical mental health counseling or sport science at Lock Haven University.
Kenn Marshall, spokesman for PASSHE, said certain occupations were kept in mind while designing the courses of study. "Really all five of these programs are designed to address very specific workforce needs. They were developed in collaboration with industry in every case. That's really what we're looking for when the board considers new programs at any of our universities," Marshall said.
Students pursuing a degree in natural gas production will be able to choose from five concentrations to prepare them for the drilling industry. A major in safety management will teach ways to help expand the Marcellus Shale industry and associated energy businesses.
Marshall said there has been significant interest by students in pursuing degrees in these fields. "Part of the approval process is the universities conduct market studies, they, again, they work with industry to identify needs, and they have to demonstrate that there is going to be a demand for these programs before they'll be approved by the board," Marshall said.
The clinical mental health counseling program will help students learn how to work in rural areas and with military veterans dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The degree in sports science will prepare students for work in sport administration or sport exercise psychology.
Both of the programs at Mansfield University will be offered beginning this fall and the others will begin soon after.