Officials from the Northern Wyoming Community College District are gathering data to obtain an understanding of community and student needs as they are considering adding bachelor’s of applied science degrees.
This option follows a recently passed bill by state legislatures that allows community colleges throughout Wyoming to offer bachelor’s of applied science degrees to its students.
Disciplines that fall under the degrees include construction, machining and welding. Currently, the community college district offers associate’s degrees in applied sciences and several certificates around those subjects, according to Wyoming Public Media.
Depending on the program, the degrees could be available at Sheridan College, Gillette College and Sheridan College in Johnson County.
“This month, the month of April, we’re in a data collection mode. We’re doing surveys and focus groups with our partners in the community in terms of workforce and then as well as our students,” said vice president of academic affairs Dr. Estella Castillo-Garrison. “So it’s kind of a two-prong approach with the different populations to gear up and point us in the right direction.”
The district is also working with professional industry leaders to determine what elements they believe would make students successful in the programs, Castillo-Garrison said.
The bachelor’s degrees will allow students pursuing a degree in applied science to obtain more management skills, Castillo-Garrison said.
“What we find is that students will go right into the workforce, which is what they are meant to be, but then they want to go ahead and raise their education and develop additional skills to kind of take that next step at their jobs,” Castillo-Garrison said. “So this will provide that pathway.”
Castillo-Garrison added that the addition of these degrees could help produce more workers to industries and businesses in applied science fields.
“The programs will really help filling those needs,” she said.
The district will begin analyzing the data in May 2019.