UNK launches new business pathway program with Central Community College

GRAND ISLAND – A new partnership between the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Central Community College makes it easier for students to earn stackable degrees in a variety of business fields.

Announced Monday during an event at College Park in Grand Island, the business pathway program creates a seamless transition for students, allowing them to complete one of three associate degree options at CCC before transferring those credits toward a bachelor’s degree at UNK.

“This partnership provides more flexibility for students. Yes, plan on pursuing your bachelor’s degree, but chunk it down. Earn your associate degree first, then take the next step to obtain your bachelor’s degree,” said Bree Dority, associate dean of the UNK College of Business and Technology.

The 2+2 guided pathways serve as road maps students can follow from the start of their CCC program through the completion of their UNK degree. These semester-by-semester course plans maximize their investment in higher education, ensuring their time and money are not lost.

All of the eligible CCC degrees and most of the UNK programs are offered both in person and fully online, so busy students and working professionals can choose a course delivery method that best fits their schedule.

“It is important to Central Community College to provide great local transfer options like this to our graduates,” said Candace Walton, CCC vice president of instruction and innovation. “Central Nebraska directly benefits from the excellent business education programs at CCC and UNK. Our students receive the benefits of studying here at home, where they learn, live, raise their families and work.”

Students who take advantage of the pathway program complete their first 60 credit hours through CCC, which offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in business administration through its Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney locations. There’s also an online option and a night track program that combines online and in-person classes, with students meeting one night a week at either the Columbus, Grand Island or Hastings campus.

The college’s most popular major, an associate degree in business administration provides the foundational knowledge and critical-thinking skills graduates need for a variety of career paths. Students specialize in either business administration or accounting, with opportunities to earn certificates in entrepreneurship and logistics.

The other degree option, an Associate of Arts through the academic transfer program, is available online and at the CCC locations in Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings, Holdrege, Kearney and Lexington.

“The combined years of experience in industry and academic excellence of CCC’s faculty makes for robust and well-rounded programs for our students,” said Roxann Holliday, CCC dean of business and entrepreneurship. “But it’s the dedication to students and enthusiasm for teaching and learning that make our faculty and their programs unique. CCC students have exceptional advocates in our faculty who have a passion to help students succeed in whatever path they choose.”

After graduating from CCC, students take their final 60 credit hours at UNK, which offers a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. There are five emphasis areas to choose from: accounting, finance, management, marketing and supply chain management.

Accounting, management and marketing are all offered on campus and online. Finance and supply chain management both include some courses that must be taken in person.

The UNK business programs are accredited by AACSB International, the highest standard of achievement for business schools. Led by expert faculty, these programs prepare students for high-demand, high-wage professions that often require a bachelor’s degree.

The median annual salary for business and financial positions is around $72,250, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, much higher than the $42,000 median salary for all occupations.

In addition to gaining hands-on experience and real-world knowledge in the classroom, UNK students have the chance to network with business and industry leaders across the region. These relationships often lead to internship and career opportunities. Most of UNK’s business programs have job placement rates at or near 100%.

“High-quality programs are not possible without high-quality, student-focused faculty,” said Tim Jares, dean of the UNK College of Business and Technology. “Our faculty are dedicated to providing extraordinary experiences inside and outside the classroom that position our students for success in life after college.”

Students enrolled in the business pathway program can apply for scholarships and other financial aid at UNK, which is already the most affordable university in the state.

The business pathway is the second program launched by UNK and CCC as part of the Equity Transfer Initiative, a two-year partnership aimed at increasing transfer and completion rates for Black, Hispanic, adult and first-generation learners. The national initiative is led by the American Association of Community Colleges in collaboration with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

For more information on the business pathway program, visit www.unk.edu/transfer/guided-pathways.php.

At UNK, contact College of Business and Technology Associate Dean Bree Dority at 308-865-8343 or doritybl@unk.edu.

At CCC, contact Associate Dean of Business and Entrepreneurship Michelle Setlik at 308-398-7341 or msetlik@cccneb.edu.