In what looks to be the first of its kind, a community college in southern Illinois will now be offering students the opportunity to earn a degree in fracking. Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Illinois, plans to enroll its first students seeking a fracking degree this fall.

According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, Lincoln Trail College President Kathryn Harris addressed the benefits to students who focus their studies on the evolving practice of oil and natural gas extraction. Harris acknowledged the fact that southern Illinois has an abundance of oil, and the degree will help prepare students in the pertinent phases of fracking, including the planning, development, and operation of fracking.

Both analysts and general observers alike have fracking forecasted the demand for petroleum workers in the area, and the fracking degree offered by Lincoln Trail aims to arm its students with the educational background and foundation that will help vault them into the fracking workforce.

Just last year, Anthony Carnevale, Director of Education and Workforce at Georgetown University, stated that, in his opinion, fracking would offer the best return on investment in terms of bachelors degrees. While some engineering programs offer online courses that address better fracking practices, Lincoln Trail College appears to not only be the first “bricks and mortar” school to offer a degree in fracking, but also the first program anywhere—online or otherwise—to provide students the opportunity to earn a fracking degree.

Given the recent and surging trends in fracking as highlighted in a prior Gordon & Rees publication, Lincoln Trail College’s implementation of this degree is a strong validation of the rise in interest—and demand—in the fracking industry, at least as far as southern Illinois is concerned.