Portland State University's new athletic and outdoor business program is expanding to include a non-credit certificate that teaches the nuts and bolts of one of Oregon's largest industries.
The program launched this fall with an undergraduate certificate through the School of Business Administration. Beginning in January, the business school's Center for Executive and Professional Education (CEPE) is offering the 75-hour non-credit Athletic and Outdoor Product Management certificate program for people who want to break into or advance their careers in the athletic and outdoor industry, said Kristen Pedersen, director of the center.
Industry professionals teach classes spanning merchandizing, materials sourcing, competitive dynamics, and salesperson interaction. Business partners include Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, The Clymb, Leatherman, KEEN, Gerber Legendary Blades, and Korkers Footwear.
“I think (the program) will help raise the level of industry knowledge and access for an increasingly smarter, more well-trained workforce within the industry that will benefit small, mid-level and larger companies in the region,” says Sean Beers, CEO of Portland-based Korkers, which manufactures and sells outdoor and fishing footwear.
Lauren Beitelspacher, an assistant professor in marketing at PSU who founded the program, counts 811 athletic and outdoor companies in Oregon. The Portland metro area has more footwear distribution and manufacturing outlets than any of the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas, employing more than 14,000 people, according to a 2010 study.
“The goal is that we'll be considered a knowledge gathering place for the industry,” Beitelspacher says. “I hope companies will consider us first when hiring for entry-level positions, and will look to develop their employees with the non-credit program.”
For 30 years CEPE has been offering non-credit education. New certificates such as the athletic and outdoor program and the new business of craft brewing certificate program keep the center relevant, Pedersen says.
When the center started offering the business of craft brewing certificates, “response was huge,” she says. “When (Beitelspacher) came up with this idea, it sounded similar – a response to something prevalent and strong in the community.”
Find out more about the Athletic and Outdoor Industry certificate program at: www.pdx.edu/cepe/athletic-outdoor.