SEU to Launch Trades Programs
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With major workforce shortages projected in several trade professions in the coming years, Christian higher education is uniquely poised for holistic development of essential trades professionals. SEU Trades will aim to meet industry needs by offering skilled labor programs and mentor-rich apprenticeships paired with a comprehensive, faith-based curriculum — all at an accessible and affordable rate.
“Skilled trade professions are essential to our way of life and to thriving communities,” said SEU’s provost and chief academic officer, Meghan Griffin. “We gravitate towards new frontiers such as AI, robotics, and genomic medicine, but the future is predicated on the foundational professions — power, air conditioning, and plumbing — that keep it all running. Those jobs are in high demand and will not be replaced by technology.”
She continued, “Our goal is to serve the professions here in Lakeland and in the communities surrounding our 200 plus partner sites.”
SEU Trades will offer degree programs and certificates through the university’s main campus, partner sites, and online. The program will utilize an innovative learning model that combines both trades education and traditional college coursework. Learning will mostly take place on the job, and traditional courses will be focused specifically on the student’s chosen field.
“Students will be introduced to skills through virtual simulations and then practice them in apprenticeships with mentors,” said Griffin. It's a model as old as discipleship, and these relationships develop technical skill as well as spiritual formation.”
A few of the degrees* that will be offered through the initial launch of the program include a Bachelor of Science in Construction Technology, an Associates of Applied Science in Construction Technology, and minors in event production, project management, and construction technology. Pending accreditor approval, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical programs will follow in January of 2024.
Students enrolled in SEU Trades will have the opportunity to earn while they learn by completing a paid internship in their desired field as they simultaneously obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree. As a result of the combination of on-the-job training and online learning, students will have maximum flexibility. Courses will also be budget-friendly with financial aid options available.
“Our vision with SEU Trades is to provide an environment that will train and develop the whole individual in order for them to be ‘work ready,’ productive, and a valuable asset to wherever they are employed,” said Glenn Barnard, professor and executive director of SEU Trades.
As executive director, Barnard was recently hired at the university to serve in a cross-functional role providing oversight of budget, planning, vision, and strategy of SEU Trades. His primary function is to procure and manage partnerships, develop the academic programs, and to serve both students and industry partners.
To learn more about SEU Trades, see the SEU Trades webpage.
*The Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees will launch in the fall of 2023 pending approval from SACSCOC.