CBC gets permission to add 2 bachelor's degree programs

PASCO -- State officials gave Columbia Basin College permission this week to provide two new bachelor's degrees beginning this fall.

The college has planned to offer the degrees for months but needed final approval from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, which oversees program quality, the demand for the programs and whether they compete with any nearby public four-year universities.

The new Bachelor of Applied Science degrees will be for cybersecurity or project management. CBC already offers a similar degree in applied management.

The degree formats allow students with two-year associate degrees to earn a bachelor's degree with two more years of coursework, preparing them for management-level positions.

College officials said there is a demand for well-trained cybersecurity and management graduates. Battelle donated $118,000 to the college to develop an associate degree in cybersecurity that will feed into the new bachelor's degree program, a release from CBC read.

Similarly, the U.S. Department of Energy provided a multi-year grant to set up the project management program to provide workers for the cleanup efforts at the Hanford site.

About 30 students are enrolled to pursue one of the two new degrees this fall, CBC President Rich Cummins told the Herald.

"We've got a pretty good pipeline for both of them," he said.

Cummins said there are dozens of jobs tied to these fields opening in the region annually. Now students who need the affordability and the flexibility of a community college to be trained for them will have that option.