Penn State Mont Alto adds project and supply chain management degree

Instructor and student work together in classroom

Penn State Mont Alto Project and Supply Chain Management

Credit: Penn State

MONT ALTO, Pa. — Penn State Mont Alto unveiled its new project and supply chain management degree in response to a local and global need.

“This is a great degree for our students and our campus — it’s very relevant,” said Michael Doncheski, Mont Alto’s chief academic officer. “You can drive from Martinsburg (West Virginia) to Harrisburg (Pennsylvania), and you would be hard-pressed not to see a large warehouse. This area is a center of logistics, supply chain, warehousing — and it seemed like a natural addition to the business area of the Mont Alto portfolio.” 

The employability for someone with a degree in project management or supply chain is high, Doncheski said.

It wasn’t only the job prospects that grabbed Sonja Loewe’s attention. It was the intimacy of a small campus with one-on-one interaction with faculty that led her to enroll in the new major, which became available in August 2019.

“Here, it’s easier to contact professors to get help. The professors at Mont Alto really care a lot about students and their successes,” she said.

The international student from Germany will be among the first to earn the project and supply chain management degree when she graduates in May 2021.

Prior to Mont Alto offering the four-year degree, students had to complete the final two years of their degree at University Park or another campus. Now, students can “start here and stay here,” Doncheski said.

There’s a tremendous market for students who want to stay in the area to do an internship, and there are many options for securing a permanent position locally, he said.

“Our students have an edge. In addition to knowing logistics, warehousing and transportation, our students are also getting the project management skill set. So, it makes them very employable,” Doncheski said.

Vahid Ghomi, assistant professor of project and supply chain management, said graduate employability is high.

“It’s a growing field. Businesses are prospering, and the potential is untapped,” he said.

L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., said the new degree is a “big deal” for the area. 

“Transportation and logistics is a high-demand career in South Central Pennsylvania. As such, it is reasonable to expect that a very high percentage of graduates will find meaningful, family-sustaining employment opportunities upon graduation,” Ross said.

Bryce Kendall, a junior from Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, was undecided about a major when he came to Mont Alto, but quickly enrolled in project and supply chain management when the degree became available this academic year.

“I thought I’d have to transfer to another campus to enroll in the degree, but was pleasantly surprised when the degree was offered at Mont Alto,” he said.

As a commuter, the Mont Alto campus affords him the perfect setting to complete his bachelor’s degree while working locally to offset the cost of his education.  

“Project management and supply chain is a growing field, especially in this area. I am confident that my Penn State degree will serve me well in finding lucrative, local employment,” he said.

Kendall is slated to graduate in the first project and supply chain management class in 2021.