OVERLAND PARK — The University of Kansas Edwards Campus is offering a new, unique program aimed at attracting and retaining talent in Johnson County and the region. The new Applied Statistics and Analytics online graduate degree, starting in fall 2015, is the 10th program the university is adding as part of the Johnson County Education Research Triangle (JCERT) initiative, an 1/8 cent sales tax that voters approved in 2008.
In exchange for the roughly $5 million the tax generates each year, KU Edwards committed to adding 10 degree programs that support business, engineering, science and technology, or BEST. In addition, the university invested $23 million in a new, state-of-the-art BEST building on campus.
“The JCERT tax has helped to support our local economy and business development,” said David Cook, vice chancellor of Edwards Campus. “We’ve had students providing hands-on work with companies large and small, and businesses are attracted to the graduates who are prepared to enter the workforce because of the opportunities created by the JCERT tax.”
The applied statistics and analytics online master's degree addresses a growing demand for statisticians in a number of industries such as transportation, insurance, manufacturing and health care. The American Association for the Advancement of Science projects a 27 percent growth in jobs for biostatisticians by the year 2022. KU is the only school in the region to offer this master’s degree. It is the first joint program between KU Edwards and KU Medical Center.
Programs like these fulfill the purpose of JCERT of growing the business community by attracting top talent to the area. Students gain an opportunity to learn in a hands-on, real-life environment due to the partnerships the university has developed with area businesses.
Andrea Salazar graduated with her professional science master’s degree in environmental assessment, one of the new programs offered as a result of JCERT. For her capstone project, she worked with Sprint to identify the company’s water footprint and developed a water conservation guide to help not only Sprint, but also its 6,000-plus suppliers, reduce their water usage.
“The role I played when working with Sprint offered me a huge opportunity to make a real impact on their sustainability,” Salazar said. “This opportunity wouldn’t have been available to me had I not been a part of the JCERT program.”
Note: Salazar is available for interviews, as well as a JCERT Board member and a representative from the business community, to discuss the tax and the effect it has already had in Johnson County.
About Johnson County Education Research Triangle
The Johnson County Education Research Triangle is a 1/8 cent sales tax that was approved by Johnson County voters in 2008. It marks a partnership among the taxpayers of Johnson County, Kansas State University and KU to bring the finest expanded higher education degrees and research to the county. The money supports the KU Edwards Campus, K-State Olathe campus and KU Cancer Center Clinical Research Center
About the Edwards Campus
The KU Edwards Campus at 127th Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park brings high-quality academic programs, research and public-service benefits of KU to the Greater Kansas City community in order to serve the workforce, economic and community development needs of region.