CANYON, TX (KFDA) - West Texas A&M University (WT) will be adding an electrical engineering program in January 2017.
On Monday, school leaders and industry experts announced this expansion and addressed the growing need for these types of programs in this area.
"Over the next five years, 40 percent of the professional labor in this field is set to retire," Jolly Hayden, Chief Operating Officer at Golden Spread Electric Co-op, said. "Trying to recruit quality engineers is tough and we need them in the Panhandle."
The engineering building has been renovated to service the growing department.
Starting in January, students will be able to enroll in these classes which will take place on the first floor of the building.
WT brought in two new faculty members with a focus on electrical engineering to help design the curriculum and labs.
Dean Emily Hunt, anticipates engineering will become one of the largest programs WT offers.
She believes these additions will better prepare students for the challenges of real world problems.
"This energy and power systems program was developed to meet the industry demand," Hunt said. "Our students will be trained with specific skill sets to power industries, so once they graduate they'll be ready to meet the workforce need."
The second floor is scheduled to be finished by the fall of 2017.
The new facility will double the department's usable space including three smart classrooms, four design labs and 30 faculty offices.