The start of the spring 2014 semester brought with it a new minor option that promotes creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The minor in Innovation Engineering is a collaborative effort of the College of Technology and the Kelce College of Business and is open to any major on campus. The minor teaches students the techniques and systems used to create, connect, and commercialize unique ideas.

“The primary purpose is to provide students with the tools necessary to identify potential new ventures, create marketable concepts, connect with potential target markets, and to follow through and commercialize the product, service or activity,” said Linden Dalecki, PSU associate professor of Management and Marketing.

Innovation and the ability to be creative continue to gain steam as attractive qualities in job applicants. According to a survey conducted for the Association of American Colleges and Universities, 95 percent of employers say they give hiring preference to college graduates “with skills that will enable them to contribute to innovation in the workplace.” Also, 90 percent of employers say that “innovation is essential” to their organizations’ success.

The survey also concluded that more than three in four employers say they want colleges to place more emphasis on helping students develop five key learning outcomes, including: critical thinking, complex problem-solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings.

“More and more, employers are looking for applicants who can think outside of the box and be creative,” Dalecki said. “They want someone who can solve complex problems and have the capacity for continued learning. For many, that’s even more important than what the students majored in.”