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USU and SLCC agreement opens new doors for fashion students

Salt Lake City — Utah State University (USU) and Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) have created a transfer agreement aimed at giving fashion and design students opportunities to pursue further education and careers in the growing outdoor industry.

The new transfer agreement allows students who complete two years at SLCC’s Fashion Institute to apply to USU’s Outdoor Product Design and Development (OPDD) program after submitting a portfolio and being accepted to the program. Students attending USU must also submit portfolios and be formally accepted into the program. SLCC students who are accepted can then graduate with a bachelor’s degree after two years of work in OPDD.

“When you start looking at the fashion and design industry, there are so many connections and overlaps,” said Amber Williams, professional practice assistant professor for USU’s OPDD program. “We should absolutely be working together. It just makes sense.”

Prior to this transfer agreement, SLCC Fashion Institute students had to look outside the state to continue their education. They also would lose out on the hard work they already put into their degrees, as most fashion schools will not accept credits earned at other institutions.

This agreement has been in the works for several years. Representatives from both SLCC and USU have worked diligently to ensure alignment between the two programs. The goal was to create a smooth transition with no learning gaps to help transfer students find success.

“We’re providing opportunities for students who, at the beginning of their academic career, might not have thought that a four-year degree was possible,” Williams said. “And now we have a pathway that makes that possible for them.”

Both programs strongly emphasize hands-on training, practical skills, and gaining industry experience. The SLCC Fashion Institute recently moved to a new state-of-the-art facility with the latest equipment. SLCC offers diverse and affordable instruction, as well as online classes and flexible scheduling. Faculty members have worked in the apparel industry, offering students an array of first-hand knowledge.

“Our class sizes are small, and attention to their future success is our main goal,” said Mojdeh Sakaki, SLCC Fashion Institute program manager.

The USU OPDD program combines concepts such as industrial design, engineering, digital design, apparel and gear design, sustainability, business, supply chain management and more. The program is guided by an industry advisory board, which consists of leading companies in the outdoor recreation industry. The advisory board provides feedback on curriculum, creates design challenges for students, provides internship opportunities and ensures that the OPDD program leads the nation in preparing students to succeed as product designers and developers in the outdoor industry.

“Textiles and clothing are a fundamental part of everyday life and an important sector in the global economy,” Sakaki said. “The clothing industry employs more than 300 million people along the value chain. We live in a state where outdoor recreation and tourism are one of the main industries. As of today, there are 17 thriving outdoor apparel companies in Utah. These companies are the backbones of the economic development in our state, and we play an important role in providing a sustainable workforce for them.”

SLCC Fashion Institute students can focus their studies on visual merchandising, fashion design, or technical apparel design. USU OPDD students can focus their studies on product design, product development, or product line management.

The first students to take advantage of this new agreement will graduate from SLCC this spring and join USU this fall.

Click here to learn more about the Salt Lake Community College Fashion Institute, and click here to learn more about USU’s OPDD program.

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Salt Lake Community College is Utah’s largest two-year college, proudly educating the state’s most diverse student body in eight areas of study at eight locations and online. The majority of SLCC graduates transfer to four-year institutions, and thousands more are trained in direct-to-workforce programs. For more than 75 years, SLCC has been providing Utahns with education and training in fields that contribute to the state’s vibrant economy and high quality of life.  

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Utah State University – Outdoor Product Design and Development is a bachelor’s of science program focused on training the next generation of product creators for the sports and outdoor industry. Students receive hands on experience and prepare for exciting careers working in product design, development, and product line management.

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