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Cayuga Community College is launching a degree program providing a new academic pathway for students committed to careers helping people in their community.
The new Human Services Program will prepare students for dozens of career paths and transfer opportunities to continue their education after earning their Associate of Science Degree from Cayuga. The program will be included in Cayuga’s virtual open house for the School of Social Sciences and Education on Thursday, April 29, from 3 to 6 p.m.
The program will start in the Fall 2021 semester, and will be available to students on Cayuga’s Auburn and Fulton Campuses.
“We know the important role Human Services agencies play in our community, and that it is a growing field with the need for a talented, trained workforce. We’re proud to announce this new degree program, and excited to see our students dedicate themselves to careers supporting those in need in our community,” said Cayuga President Dr. Brian Durant.
Developed after extensive conversations with community agencies, the Human Services Program prepares students for varied careers paths, including as substance abuse counselors, social workers, and family therapists. The program also offers several transfer pathways for students interested in earning a four-year degree after graduating from Cayuga, including opportunities to continue their education at Syracuse University, SUNY Albany and Nazareth College.
That connection to community agencies is part of what will make the program strong, said Professor and Program Coordinator Eric Zizza.
“This is really an example of the quintessential Cayuga program. It matches the interests of our students with an urgent and growing need in the community, and it appeals to students who are looking to gain field experience along with learning in the classroom,” said Zizza. “If you’re a student who is looking to help people, this is a program that will help you.”
Part of the conversation with local community agencies involved ensuring internship opportunities for students enrolled in the program. Students enrolled in the program will have internship opportunities with approximately 20 agencies located in either Cayuga or Oswego Counties, with many agencies welcoming more than one intern. Students will need to complete two field internships to earn their degree.
“The field internships are probably the richest opportunity for students to determine if this is the career path they want to pursue, and in what avenue of Human Services they want to continue,” said Zizza. “I’m optimistic that these internships will lead to job opportunities for our graduates.”
Along with a forward-thinking curriculum, the degree program also offers four concentrations helping students pursue certain fields. Concentrations include Social Work, Educational Support, Corrections/Parole, and Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation.
Between the curriculum, internships and available concentrations, the program will create a variety of opportunities for students, said Zizza.
“This is a program that creates career options, not limitations, for students, and that’s something I’m very excited about,” he said. “It offers students a chance to establish a fantastic foundation to grow from and to meet so many different calls and challenges in our community."