In the fall of 2023,* SEU will launch SEU Trades, an innovative collection of program offerings in construction technology, HVAC, event production, project management, plumbing, and electrical fields.
The Drive Behind SEU Trades
With major workforce shortages projected in several trade professions in the coming years, Christian higher education is uniquely poised for holistic development of essential trades professionals. SEU Trades will aim to meet industry needs by offering skilled labor programs and mentor-rich apprenticeships paired with a comprehensive, faith-based curriculum — all at an accessible and affordable rate.
“Skilled trade professions are essential to our way of life and to thriving communities,” said Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Meghan Griffin. “We gravitate toward new frontiers such as AI, robotics, and genomic medicine, but the future is predicated on the foundational professions — power, air conditioning, and plumbing — that keep it all running. Those jobs are in high demand and will not be replaced by technology.”
She continued, “Our goal is to serve the professions here in Lakeland and in the communities surrounding our 200-plus partner sites.”
SEU Trades will offer degree programs and certificates through the university’s main campus, partner sites, and online. The program will utilize an innovative learning model that combines both trades education and traditional college coursework. Learning will mostly take place on the job, and traditional courses will be focused specifically on the student’s chosen field.
“Students will be introduced to skills through virtual simulations and then practice them in apprenticeships with mentors. It’s a model as old as discipleship, and these relationships develop technical skill as well as spiritual formation,” said Griffin.
A few of the degrees to be offered through the initial launch of the program include a Bachelor of Science in Construction Technology, an Associate of Applied Science in Construction Technology, and minors in event production, project management, and construction technology. Pending accreditor approval, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical programs will follow in January of 2024.
Students enrolled in SEU Trades will have the opportunity to earn while they learn by completing a paid internship in their desired field as they simultaneously obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree. As a result of the combination of on-the-job training and online learning, students will have maximum flexibility. Courses will also be budget-friendly with financial aid options available.
“Our vision with SEU Trades is to provide an environment that will train and develop the whole individual in order for them to be ‘work ready,’ productive, and a valuable asset to wherever they are employed,” said Glenn Barnard, professor and executive director of SEU Trades.
Leadership of SEU Trades
As executive director, Barnard was recently hired at the university to serve in a cross-functional role providing oversight of budget, planning, vision, and strategy of SEU Trades. His primary function is to procure and manage partnerships, develop the academic programs, and to serve both students and industry partners.
Prior to SEU, Barnard worked at Cost of Wisconsin, Inc., a theme and speciality construction services organization. Over the course of 18 years, he served as their regional sales director, vice president of operations, and senior project manager. Barnard handled client relationships, business development, proposal writing, contract negotiating, and more for projects in the Midwest and Western United States.
He also served in various positions for Rock & Waterscape Systems, Inc., in Orlando, Florida. Barnard was the vice president and project manager for the company’s eastern division, as well as a general manager for their office in Irvine, California. In addition, he has held a contractor license in 10 states.
*The associate of science and bachelor of science degrees will launch pending approval from SACSCOC.