Published: Jan. 31, 2020

Outdoor Industry Association

In partnership with the University of Colorado Boulder (CU), Utah State University (USU) and Western Colorado University, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) will be offering a suite of continuing education certificates that will launch throughout 2020. The online-based and self-paced, non-credit certificates will focus on OIA’s three pillar areas of public policy, increasing outdoor participation and sustainable business innovation as well as other topics relevant to those working for or looking to work for outdoor industry businesses. The Outdoor Industry Business Certificate (OIBC) program is perfect for outdoor industry professionals looking to further their industry knowledge or for people interested in pursuing a career in the outdoor industry.

“We are excited to spearhead this innovative university-association partnership model along with the University of Colorado Boulder, Utah State University, and Western Colorado University,” said Kristen Freaney, director of the emerging leaders programs at OIA. “As the outdoor industry continues to grow and career paths in the industry continue to gain visibility, there is an increasing need for workforce development and innovative professional education opportunities tailored to this sector. OIA sees itself as uniquely positioned to be a conduit for these opportunities. These certificates are a great opportunity to provide practical education to people already working in the industry, while increasing the accessibility of outdoor industry careers for those who are looking to get their foot in the door.”

Read below for descriptions of the first three certificates in the OIA Outdoor Industry Business Certificate suite, launching in 2020.

The University of Colorado Boulder’s Outdoor Industry Business Certificate will focus on environmental policy and stakeholder engagement related to the outdoor industry. Faculty from CU’s Masters of the Environment graduate program – an innovative professional master’s program that produces highly skilled environmental and sustainability professionals will teach courses in community and stakeholder engagement, climate change policy and issues around public lands and natural resources protections. Students can expect to come away from this certificate with a deeper understanding of current public lands issues and controversies; the laws and regulations that guide management of public lands; challenges and opportunities that face the public and private sectors as each works to reduce their carbon footprint and prepare for future climate impacts; and how to establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with stakeholders and to gain community buy in.

“CU is excited about the opportunity to partner with the nation’s leading association representing the outdoor industry sector because of their forward leaning position on public lands and community economic development as well as their deep reach into the outdoor recreation economy,” said Joel Hartter, associate professor of environmental studies and director of CU Boulder’s Masters of the Environment graduate program.

Utah State University’s Outdoor Industry Business Certificate will focus on sustainability in product design and supply chain. Faculty from USU’s cutting-edge Outdoor Product Design Program (OPDD), many with outdoor industry work experience, will teach courses on the circular economy, sustainability marketing, the Higg Index and other sustainability assessment tools and metrics and sustainable supply chains. Students can expect to come away from this certificate with a better understanding of sustainability practices, tools and impacts as they apply to the outdoor industry.

“We are excited to be able to bring this certificate and the body of knowledge it represents to the outdoor industry through the collaborative efforts and partnership of USU and OIA. This opportunity is bringing the best parts of academia, industry experience and multidisciplinary collaboration together to develop relevant content that can help those both in and out of industry to drive real change,” said Dr. Andrew Deceuster, associate professor and program director at Utah State University’s Outdoor Product Design and Development program.

The Western Colorado University Outdoor Industry Business Certificate will focus on responsible business in the outdoor industry. Faculty from Western’s Outdoor Industry MBA program, the first and only outdoor-focused MBA program in the country, will teach courses in marketing and brand strategy, leadership, bringing socially responsible products to market and understanding and integrating inclusivity in the workplace. After completing this certificate, students can expect to have a deeper understanding of how to apply business tools (e.g., crowdfunding, co-creation, market analysis, managing upward, etc.) to creating meaningful impact in the industry.

“Western Colorado University’s Outdoor Industry MBA program is excited to partner with OIA,” said Dr. D. Scott Borden, director, Outdoor Industry MBA, assistant professor in the School of Business. “We are specifically looking forward to advancing our mutual goals of equipping professionals with the skills to excel in their professional endeavors, providing training in promoting and understanding issues relevant to the industry like inclusion, sustainability, fair trade, equitable workplace practices and more.”

All certificates in the OIBC suite will be composed of four, non-credit courses, each led by experienced university faculty. Courses are self-paced and online, so working professionals can participate anytime from anywhere on a flexible completion schedule. There are no required prerequisites for the certificates. Those who are interested in the certificates should bring a sense of curiosity, a willingness to learn and a desire to make corporations more sustainable and the world a better place.

Learn more about OIA, Outdoor Industry Business Certificates and the partner universities here.