Liberal Arts

Penn State offers online labor and employment relations degrees

Working professionals can choose from two undergraduate programs to prepare for a wide range of human resources and employment relations careers

As the economy becomes increasingly globalized, more jobs are being created in human resources and employment relations, areas that can help companies to be competitive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects these occupations will grow much faster than average through 2018. Most of these jobs will require a bachelor’s degree. For those already in the workforce, Penn State’s new online bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in Labor and Employment Relations programs offer a flexible way to earn a degree that will prepare them for careers in these areas, while continuing to work. For application information, visit online.

“There is a large demand for this degree because of the central role human resources and employment relations plays in the modern workplace,” said Paul F. Clark, head and professor in Penn State’s Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations. “The programs give students an opportunity to earn a degree and plug into our network of human resources and employment relations alumni who are working in top companies, in the federal government and with American unions. It is also a great prelaw degree.”

Penn State has been offering this degree program on campus since the 1950s and has 3,600 active alumni worldwide. Making the Labor and Employment Relations programs available online will extend access to these degrees to people who cannot come to University Park campus. The College of the Liberal Arts offers the programs, which are delivered online through Penn State’s World Campus.

Amy Dietz, Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations (LER) program administrator, said, “many of the students who enroll in the online degree programs will already be in the workforce. They will bring their personal workplace experiences to the online classroom. These courses will resonate with them.”

That’s true for Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Bright, who works in Retention and Attrition Management.

“Labor and employment relations and human resources are interrelated with my work,” said Bright, who has served 11 years in the Army, including two tours in Iraq. He recently switched his major to LER, and because of credits already earned expects to graduate in 2011. Bright, a married father of three young children from northern Virginia, then plans to enroll in Penn State’s online Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations.

For Mark Donahue, chief steward and vice president of AFSCME Local 2536 and a licensing specialist for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Penn State’s online programs are ideal. A 1991 political science alumnus, Donahue currently is pursuing an online Certificate in Labor Studies and Employment Relations. “It’s a great program,” he said. “It really opens me to new thought processes.” The Robesonia, Pa., resident plans to continue his education in Penn State’s online master’s program in Human Resources and Employment Relations.

Applications are now being accepted. For information, visit online or call 800-252-3592.

Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering more than 70 of Penn State’s most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. Founded in 1998, Penn State World Campus is the University’s 25th campus serving more than 9,600 students in all 50 states and 62 countries. For more information, visit online. Penn State World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 19, 2010