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Frostburg State University is launching the Working Professional Certificates program, beginning enrollment now for fall 2021. Students can take the certification or apply the courses toward a bachelor’s degree in the future

Millions of working American adults lack a full college degree. Or, if they have some college, perhaps they need real-world training to make them competitive in today’s ever-evolving market.

In an effort to provide this kind of practical, high-quality training, Frostburg State University is launching the Working Professional Certificates program, beginning enrollment now for fall 2021.

“We are leading workforce development in Maryland by launching these certificates at the undergraduate level,” said Dr. Sudhir Singh, Dean of FSU’s College of Business.

The Working Professional Certificates program is designed to take one year of part-time study, or 12-18 credits. Coursework will be entirely online, with accessible scheduling for working adults.

Since courses are offered for undergraduate credit, students can take the certification or apply the courses toward a bachelor’s degree in the future.

FSU professor Dr. Marty Mattare helped design the program along with Content Developer Wayne Keefer. Mattare earned her Ph.D. after rising through the ranks in a business career. She believes strongly in giving working professionals coursework with real-world applications.

“This program is for that person who needs a jumpstart in their career. They don’t have the time and ability to finish that degree right now, but they do have the time to commit to something for a relatively short time that will get them another few steps up the ladder,” Mattare said.

While developing the program, Mattare and Keefer surveyed local working professionals to find out which concentrations would be most useful. They settled on a suite of an initial four: Manufacturing Leadership, Retail Management, Small Business Management and Nonprofit Management.

A major component of every certificate will be the newly created capstone seminar. Discussions with practicing business professionals will provide insights that students can use on the job. For the Manufacturing Leadership certificate, for example, managers will give video tours of their facilities and share how they overcame challenges.

Assignments will directly apply to professionals’ careers. For instance, Manufacturing Leadership students will learn how to prepare for supply chain disruptions, such as those that happened during the pandemic, and Nonprofit Management students will learn how to design a funding campaign. Small Business Management students will write a business plan that they could take straight to the bank, and Retail Management students will plan the transition of a business from brick-and-mortar to click-and-mortar.

Throughout the program, classes will consider the latest business innovations and challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think that this is a very timely program in today’s environment,” Mattare said. “We’re seeing a lot of people leave their current jobs and search for newer, better opportunities. They need to have the skillset to compete for those better positions, and we feel that the certificate program is perfectly poised to be one of those stepping-stones.”

Whether they’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree, promotion in their current career or a switch to a new field, graduates of the Working Professional Certificates Program will be equipped to succeed.

“These certificate offerings represent a real innovation from the College of Business in its service to the community,” Singh said.

To apply for FSU’s Working Professional Certificates Program, prospective students must hold an associate’s degree or have the credit equivalency. Applicants must also submit a resume to show their work experience. Find out more about the program and apply by visiting https://www.frostburg.edu/academics/majorminors/Certificate/working-professional.php.

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