Pasco-Hernando State College — which recently has been recognized as one of the top schools in the nation for its return on educational investment — continues to add new programs and initiatives.
That was the message that Dr. Stan Giannet, the college’s provost, delivered to a crowd at a recent Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the Golden Corral.
The state college received notification from the Department of Education last month that it was one of the top schools for affordability in bachelor’s degree programs.
And, earlier this year, WalletHub, a national economic magazine, ranked PHSC among the top three community colleges in the nation for return on educational investment, out of more than 800 candidate schools. The WalletHub study took into account student learning outcomes plus the cost.
“We’re a major state power in higher education,” said Giannet, who has been at PHSC for more than 27 years.
Giannet, also PHSC’s vice president of academic affairs, said the college has “exceeded every metric” from employability, to test score passage rates in workforce programs — suggesting over 95 percent of PHSC students who graduate with associate of science degrees or receive technical certificates find employment in their chosen career field.
“There’s nothing worse for a college to do than to have a degree program where students invest money, invest time, get out in the workforce and (find) they’re not employable in the industry or the career of their choice. We don’t have that,” he said.
The state college provides training for more than 30 careers in business, health, industry and technology, and public service through new bachelor’s degree, Associate in Science degree and certificate programs.
And, while he’s proud of the institution’s growth and achievements over time, the college has much more on tap, Giannet said.
The state college has more than 15,000 students and 500 faculty and staff members across its five full-service campuses in Brooksville, Dade City, New Port Richey, Spring Hill and Wesley Chapel.
Giannet told the crowd: “We have a lot of things in the pipeline.”
The state college is building a $15.5 million performing arts instructional center, expected to be complete by Aug. 2020.
The facility will be built on a 5.5-acre tract of land donated by Pasco County Schools on the campus of Cypress Creek Middle High School, off Old Pasco Road in Wesley Chapel.
Expanding its program and degree offerings
The state college plans to develop an Associate’s of Science degree in digital design and graphic multi-media technologies, and, Associate’s of Arts degrees in dance, music, and theatre. Several accompanying technical certificate programs also will be offered through the arts center.
The arts center will be shared with Pasco County Schools, and will be a venue for various community events.
“It’s going to be fantastic,” Giannet said.
The college also is working on other degree offerings, he said.
The college offers two four-year degree programs currently, and is working to identify a third, Giannet said. The current four-year degrees, introduced in 2014, are for a bachelor of science in nursing and a bachelor of applied science in supervision and management. The college also is working with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office to develop an A.S. degree in crime scene technology and forensics.
That program will likely be offered at the Dade City campus, with clinical training opportunities at the Adam Kennedy Forensics Field “body farm” on the grounds of the Pasco Sheriff’s detention facility in Land O’ Lakes.
The college also is gearing up for several contract and corporate workforce training programs that are set to come online.
Among them are a 911 training program for the Hernando Sheriff’s Office; a child protection services leadership program for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office; a medical scribe exclusive online training program; and, a childhood education certification program for the Pasco and Hernando school districts.
Elsewhere, PHSC is expanding its welding technology program to the west side of the county.
The welding program has been offered on the Dade City campus.
Now, Giannet said night classes will be available Marchman Technical College in New Port Richey, thanks to a developmental partnership between the college and Pasco County Schools.
That expansion is much needed due to an increased demand for certified welders and lack of programming the county’s west side, the provost said.
“We have a huge waiting list for welding on this (east) side of the county,” Giannet said. Our welders, when they graduate from our college, they’re snatched up by the industry. “It’s a win-win situation for our community,” he added.
Giannet also talked about the college’s new aviation program, which debuted last year.
The college offers four aviation-related associate degree programs — professional pilot technology, aviation administration, aviation maintenance administration, and unmanned vehicle systems.
Several PHSC students have already become certified pilots — including a female pilot in what is “a traditionally male-dominated industry,” Giannet noted.
He expects the program to skyrocket in the coming years.
“Aviation is going to be the hottest industry in the nation, with the impending shortage and retirement of all these aviation professionals…so we’re really excited for that program,” the provost said.
The college is next looking to create more aviation partnership, with facilities such as the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport.
It already has an existing partnership with American Aviation Flight Academy, at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport, he said.
Published July 11, 2018