Opportunities Knock

Schoolcraft introduces new credit programs

By Lauren Lukens

While the convenient cost and location of Schoolcraft has attracted people from all over metro Detroit since 1961, aspiring students of all ages now have even more reasons to come. There has been a continual push towards more degree offerings throughout the years, and now students can enroll in certificate, associate and eventually a bachelor degree program in fall 2015.

4cbMBbepiWith the launch of the Schoolcraft to U program, which links the college to the University of Toledo and Wayne State University, three new credit programs are now offered, including a skills certificate in plastic technology, a degree in education and credit courses in English as a Second Language.

Skills in high demand

The Plastic Technology Skills Certificate, a 16 credit hour program that generally takes two semesters to complete, exposes students to plastic materials, processes, safety, equipment and quality systems.

“Employers helped us design this program. We have been working hand-in-hand with them for over two years now developing this. They are a key component, in fact that’s where we got our two teachers,” said Gene Keyes, Schoolcraft’s Head of Manufacturing. “I’ve learned a lot just working with these guys. These teachers know and are passionate about plastics. They know it inside and out, which is an eye-opener for me.”

Today’s plastic professionals must be able to think critically, solve problems and have thorough understanding of the technology used to produce products efficiently and with the highest quality, as well as know the fundamentals of production. This certificate trains new students for a higher skilled technician job in plastics, such as someone that sets up and troubleshoots machines, and also gives background in manufacturing and material science.

“There are a lot of jobs available in the plastics industry right now and not enough people to fill them. There is a lot of potential for any student that wants to take the curriculum,” said Armando Sardanopoli, plastics instructor. “It is a new program right now, but we plan to build it into a two-year transfer program also.”

Educating future leaders

The Associate Degree for Education program, which is approximately 60 credit hours over two years, allows future teachers two options for obtaining the knowledge, skills and credentials they need to pursue a career in elementary or secondary education. Schoolcraft students can receive an associate in arts degree or an associate in science degree. These programs provide the basic general education courses at the freshman and sophomore level to transfer to a Bachelor program at specific institutions to qualify for teacher certification.

“We’ve had teacher education courses here [at Schoolcraft] for a number of years where stupulldents could come take a couple courses and then transfer, but what we wanted to do was, for students who were interested in someday becoming teachers, to have a program here where they could come and take a group of courses and transfer that to a four-year college and save quite a bit of time and money,” said Dennis Genig, Schoolcraft’s Director of Special Projects.

Not only can one achieve their associates, but after taking five select classes and completing a few basic requirements, one transferring to a university gets the designation as teacher education on their transcript.

International opportunities

Students from around the globe have the opportunity to develop strong communications skills in the English language, such as speaking, listening, reading and writing through the new English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at Schoolcraft.

“Part of the ESL program is not just teaching them the English language, but also helping them acclimate to the American culture,” said Genig, who is in charge of ESL as well as the teacher education program. “We have a lot of other things in addition that we want to built into the program, like getting students comfortable with being in America, learning with Americans and living with other nationalities.”

There are 13 courses and four levels available to prepare students for further education opportunities or to enhance professional career goals. Upon entry of the program, students are tested on the basic English skills and placed into a level. A student with little to no understanding of English can take a level a semester and finish the entire program in two years, while others can take the last few courses in a semester to brush up their English skills.

There is a place for everyone at Schoolcraft, and this is only the beginning of the progress the college is making. In future years, community members can expect even more programs and course offerings to develop for students of all demographics.

**Image from Google Images.