CIT, entrepreneurship headline new NMC offerings

TRAVERSE CITY – Several programs at Northwestern Michigan College have fresh looks, offering new degrees and certificates to better meet industry needs and give students more options that can help provide better career outlooks.

Here's a look at what's new and improved at NMC this fall:

Computer Information

Technology (CIT)

New to the associate degree program is CIT Developer for students interested in programming and database, desktop, and web development and CIT Infrastructure for those interested in certification-based hardware and network administration. The original CIT General, a degree for students who intend to transfer, is still available. For non-degree students interested in developing specific IT skill sets, NMC has also created three progressive Infrastructure Specialist certificates.

"We changed the curriculum for a number of reasons, but the primary reason is that our students have been asking for us to be more flexible," said Scott Goethals, CIT program coordinator. A push by employers as well as student interest in industry certification also played a role in expanding the program, Goethals added.

"Students now have IT career choices that accommodate their interests and leverage their aptitudes," said Bob Pierson, a teacher in the Information Technology academic area for years. Industry demand for IT skills, both locally and nationally, is strong, according to Pierson. Citing a recent report on IT hiring trends, Pierson said Windows Administration and Network (Cisco) Administration professionals are highly desirable, which reflects the demand in the Traverse City area, adding that the Developer degree will help meet the increasing demand for web and database programmers locally.

"One of the characteristics of working in IT in this area is that you need to wear many hats," Pierson said. "Employers also demand people skills and the ability to solve business problems with IT solutions."

See www.nmc.edu/business for more information on the CIT program.

Auto Tech

The need for specialization and the impact technology is having on automotive work drove major changes to the auto technology curriculum, according to Wayne Moody, chair of NMC's automotive department.

"We have tailored our program to fit a broadened need," said Moody, and have added two new certificates to the redesigned associate degree curriculum for an industry Moody said is demanding more education as well as more specialized technicians.

"Automobiles have become extremely complex and the procedures and even the equipment to repair them have as well," Moody added. Because the associate degree will take approximately three years to complete, the department wanted to offer certificates that could be earned in a shorter period of time.

In addition to the master automotive technician certificate, students can work toward the new electrical and drivability specialist certificate or the under car specialist certificate. Either can be completed in as little as a year.

Visit www.nmc.edu/technical for more information.

Entrepreneur

Two new certificates with a focus on entrepreneurship will be available for the first time this fall, leading with the core course, Principles of Entrepreneurship. The instructor, John Fitzpatrick, plans to bring in local entrepreneurs as guest lecturers and match small student groups with area entrepreneurs who have specific business needs-market research, for example-but don't have the time or resources to commit to them. Interested business owners should contact Fitzpatrick at jgibfitz@charter.net.

As the program develops, Fitzpatrick said more classes specifically focused on entrepreneurship are planned as well as looking for ways to add entrepreneurship classes to other programs, such as culinary arts for students interested in restaurant ownership.

Visual Communications

A new associate in applied science degree, Creative Management in Art Direction, is now available to students looking to increase their marketability in the workforce.

"We created this new program based on student demand and recommendations from our Visual Communications advisory board," explained Caroline Schaefer-Hills.

As most graduates stay in the area to launch their careers, she said the department worked with its advisory board to build a program to better serve students not pursuing a four-year degree by giving them more opportunities beyond the general associate degree in Visual Communications, which is a pre-requisite for the new program.

Details at www.nmc.edu/humanities.

Culinary

A new certificate in the Culinary Arts program gives students 56 credit hours in culinary classes and eliminates 21 credit hours of general education requirements.

Fred Laughlin, director of the program, said one of the best parts of the certificate is it allows students from out of the area to come to the Great Lakes Culinary Institute for the culinary aspect alone, thus making the program available to more people.

The certificate can be completed in two years and gives students access to the same jobs in the culinary field as those with an associate degree, which typically takes longer to complete.

There has been strong demand in Culinary Arts over the last several years. The program has enjoyed increasing attention as a result of its involvement in various events, including the upcoming Epicurean Classic, now in its 4th year.

See www.nmc.edu/culinary for more information.

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