The Klamath Community College board approved three new academic programs at a meeting Tuesday night.
The board unanimously approved associate degrees for psychology, cybersecurity, and lab technician.
Classes for the programs will start in fall 2019. Fall enrollment begins May 6.
According to KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez, the programs were developed to provide students more opportunities to transfer to four-year universities with no loss of credit and to prepare graduates for careers in high-demand industries that pay a living wage. Each program will have an internship component to ensure students are well prepared to enter their fields of study.
“When the community needs trained professionals, KCC responds. There is a great need locally and nationally for well-trained professionals in these industries,” Gutierrez said. “These programs are designed to prepare graduates to compete well in the workforce and earn living wages early in their careers.”
The Psychology Associate of Applied Science is designed to give students a rich scientific and philosophical foundation and to prepare graduates to enter the workforce with professional training in understanding emotional intelligence, teamwork, communication, and fostering productive relationships. This degree was developed in response to local need for community health workers and interest from students, according to psychology faculty lead Dan Sheahan.
“Regardless of which segment of the population one desires to serve, for those students who aspire to work in a helping field, they no longer must choose between their passion and well-paying career options. They now have the best of both worlds,” Sheahan said.
Students can earn credits for this degree in multiple ways: traditional classroom instruction, synchronous delivery, online courses, and cooperative work experience.
The Psychology Associate of Applied Science will prepare graduates for careers as community health workers, social service specialists, probation officers and correctional specialists, and community counselors. According to the State of Oregon Employment Department, in 2018 the average annual wage for child, family, and school social workers in South Central Oregon was $46,303.
Cybersecurity and networking
The KCC Cybersecurity and Networking Associate of Applied Science will create a pipeline for high school students to enter a high-demand, high-wage industry or assist current information technology professionals who wish train for certification exams.
“This program is designed to train IT/IS support technicians with a strong emphasis on cybersecurity and computer coding. Our curriculum is industry recognized and takes place in our state-of-the-art networking lab on the KCC campus,” said KCC computer technology faculty Pete Brandsness.
According to Brandsness, this program’s design will prepare students to sit for challenging industry-recognized certifications required for most information technology and information systems positions.
The degree will offer training in Cisco certificates for networking and security, CompTIA A+ certification for hardware and software support, and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator for server management. Students will be trained extensively in methods to prevent hacking, and graduates will be “job ready” for positions such as intrusion detection, network and operating system administration, disaster recovery and business continuity.
The Laboratory Technician Associate of Applied Science will prepare graduates for exciting careers in research or in fieldwork. The program is designed to allow degree earners to transfer to Oregon State University and other four-year institutions in Oregon.
The lab technician program will train students to use state-of-the-art instruments, ensuring graduates are competitive in laboratory-intensive fields of work.
“As far as science and technology is concerned, KCC has been the community’s best kept secret,” said KCC natural resources faculty Eleazar Gutierrez. “The only requirement for students interested in this program are an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses and an aspiration to be employed in an exciting laboratory and/or field work environment.”
The Laboratory Technician AAS curriculum will include a course in global information systems (GIS), a mapping computer used to spatially organize data to better understand patterns and relationships. GIS is used in several industries today — ranging from community health monitoring to weather mapping. According to Eleazar, understanding spatial maps and/or being able to create them with collected data is necessity in today’s medical and natural resource industries.