Utah State University is collaborating with two other universities and the Outdoor Industry Association in the creation of a suite of continuing education certificates set to be unveiled this year.
The Outdoor Industry Business Certificate (OIBC) program is designed to aid industry professionals looking to further their industry knowledge, or for people interested in pursuing a career in the outdoor industry. In addition to USU, the University of Colorado Boulder and Western Colorado University are developing the online-based and self-paced, non-credit certificates that will focus on the OIA’s three primary areas of focus: public policy, increasing outdoor participation and sustainable business innovation.
“We are excited to spearhead this innovative university-association partnership model along with Utah State University, University of Colorado Boulder and Western Colorado University,” said Kristen Freaney, director of OIA’s Emerging Leaders Programs. “As the outdoor industry continues to grow and career paths in the industry continue to gain visibility, there is an increasing need for workforce development and professional education opportunities tailored to this sector.
“OIA sees itself as uniquely positioned to be a conduit for these opportunities. We see these certificates as a great opportunity to provide practical education to people already working in the industry while also increasing the accessibility of outdoor industry careers for those who are looking to get their foot in the door.”
Utah State University’s Outdoor Industry Business Certificate will focus on sustainability in product design and supply chain. Faculty from USU’s cutting-edge Outdoor Product & Design Program, many with outdoor industry work experience, will teach courses on the circular economy, sustainability marketing, the Higg Index and other sustainability tools and sustainable supply chains.
“We are excited to be able to bring this certificate and the body of knowledge it represents to the outdoor industry through the collaborative efforts and partnership of USU and OIA,” said Andrew Deceuster, associate professor and program director at Utah State University’s Outdoor Product Design and Development program. “This opportunity is bringing the best parts of academia, industry experience and multidisciplinary collaboration together to develop relevant content that can help those both in and out of industry to drive real change.”
The Outdoor Industry Business Certificates are ideal for those currently working in the industry, as well as those looking to pursue a career in the industry. Students can expect to come away from this certificate with a better understanding of sustainability practices, tools and impacts as they apply to the outdoor industry.
Utah State University’s involvement with the Outdoor Industry Association is the result of a joint effort by USU Online and USU Extension to develop and launch new educational opportunities for individuals already in the workforce.
“This opportunity to partner with other institutions meeting the community and workforce needs has been a great opportunity to leverage our USU Online and Extension partnership,” said Rene Eborn, special assistant to the vice president for Strategic Initiatives at USU. “We have been able to collaboratively work with expert faculty with industry experience, talented staff and create an educational pathway that is accessible and flexible.”
All certificates in the Outdoor Industry Business Certificate suite will be comprised of four, non-credit courses, each led by experienced university faculty. The certificate courses are self-paced, online coursework so working professionals can participate anytime from anywhere on a flexible completion schedule.
“This is another great example of USU fulfilling its land-grant mission,” said Brian Higginbotham, associate vice president of USU Extension. “The Outdoor Industry Business Certificate allows people throughout Utah, and the country, to gain new knowledge and skills. Through this partnership, we are making it easier for people to access the education they want.”
The University of Colorado Boulder’s OIBC will focus on environmental policy and stakeholder engagement related to the outdoor industry, while the Western Colorado University certificate will concentrate on responsible business in the outdoor industry.
For more information about Outdoor Business Certificates, visit outdoorindustry.org/OIBC.