By Eric Swedlund for University Communications, March 5, 2014
Launching in the fall 2014, the program offers financial help to those seeking master's degrees in areas that stand to boost the state's economy.
The University of Arizona is launching a new Workforce-Ready Master’s Fellowship to boost the state’s workforce in key areas, including aerospace engineering, mining, water, society and policy, public health and many others.
The fellowship will provide a financial incentive to attract students interested in pursuing master’s degrees in 44 different fields that have immediate needs for more educationally advanced workers.
The UA Graduate College, with financial support from the Louise Foucar Marshall Foundation, designed the fellowship program to target fields that enhance the state’s economic, social and cultural well-being, says Maria Teresa Velez, associate dean of the Graduate College.
“The Graduate College worked very closely with the deans of the different academic colleges and jointly we identified those master’s programs where there seems to be lots of employment in Arizona,” Velez says.
Students admitted to the programs apply for fellowship assistance, up to $3,000 in either a Graduate College fellowship or tuition assistance, depending on availability and fit to the program. All applicants are required to first fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, before applying.
“We have a lot of science and technology industries that are either in the state of Arizona or that the state is trying to attract and we need a workforce that can compete and attract these new economic concerns,” Velez says. “We have many state, county and city employees who are looking to improve their current situation or move up their respective job ladders, as well as teachers and health workers who need to increase their skill sets.”
The fellowship program is recruiting students for fall 2014 semester enrollment.
Producing top graduate students who will fill workforce needs locally and across Arizona is central to the UA’s land-grant mission, says Stephanie Adamson, director of recruitment in the Graduate College.
“Packaging master’s programs that help the workforce is a good idea for Tucson and a good idea for Arizona,” she says. “We’re responding to the needs of some of the bigger employers in the area. It’s a terrific opportunity for our community and also for the University. There is a lot of demand out there and this will help meet it.”
Other programs that are part of the fellowship include art education, counseling and mental health, international security, optical sciences, real estate development, and speech, language and hearing sciences.
“Master’s programs like these will appeal to people who want to move up in their careers, or perhaps might be looking for second careers. This would be a really terrific opportunity for teachers who want to specialize or go into administration, or software or computer people who want to move up to the next level. Many of these programs would also be a good fit for people who are coming out of the military,” she said. “This fellowship may inspire folks who haven’t been actively planning on entering a master’s degree to go ahead and take the leap and get started sooner.”