OAKDALE – Louisiana Tech University and SOWELA Technical Community College announced today a memorandum of understanding (MOU) focused on forestry education between the two schools.
The MOU is designed to help students take advantage of career growth opportunities in the forest and forest products industry. In addition, the industry needs to replace workers who are ready to retire as well as grow their leadership pipeline for future growth.
“This agreement is a wonderful example of academic institutions partnering together to provide pathways for students to earn the credentials they need to obtain great jobs that will help provide a better life for themselves and their families,” said William Mayo, School of Transportation and Technology Dean. “SOWELA and Louisiana Tech’s Forestry partnership gives students a great opportunity to become accomplished professionals who will enter an industry that touches lives around the world.”
“We are proud to be able to create a smooth transition and greater opportunities for students who are interested in careers in forestry to complete their four-year degrees,” said Dr. Terry McConathy, Provost at Louisiana Tech University. “Companies are beginning to ask that their employees have more data analysis and management skills in addition to the technical skills related to timber management.”
When a student earns his or her associate degree in forestry, they can apply 12 hours of credit from that degree toward a Bachelor of Science in Forestry degree.
The partnership between SOWELA and Louisiana Tech provides students with a chance to increase career opportunities, said Dr. Gary Kennedy, Dean of the College of Applied and Natural Sciences.
“Students who earn the associate degree generally excel in the technical skills associated with the management of forests,” Kennedy said. “Those who move on to the bachelor’s degree will have the opportunity to develop management skills within the forest industry, which allow for further career options and career tracks.”
The School of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry regularly works with industry leaders and national associations to ensure the academic programs there meet the needs of both students and forest industries.
“We are constantly trying to look for innovative ways to encourage enrollment and to meet the needs of an ever changing industry while maintaining the forestry strengths we already have,” Forestry Program Chair Dr. Joshua Adams said. “This agreement will be a new pathway for becoming a Bulldog and allow these new students to efficiently merge into our current student body with relative ease. Our institutions are partnering so we can say, ‘You can have a career path that’s unlimited and that career can grow as you grow.’”