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March 6, 2006 :: State Regents’ Grants to Help Spur Economic Development in State

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The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently awarded nearly $265,000 in economic development grants to two Oklahoma higher education institutions and a coalition of Oklahoma colleges and universities focused on the support of aviation technology.

Oklahoma State University’s Center for Innovation and Economic Development, in partnership with the Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacturing Excellence, Inc., will receive a one-time grant for $125,000 that will help fund a proposed project designed to bring new services to the state’s small-and medium-sized manufacturers. The project consists of four components, including:

The State Regents also awarded a one-time economic development grant of $88,200 to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Miami, in support of the college’s Workforce Skills Assessment Project. This initiative will provide funding for assessments to a minimum of 15 companies representing the top four industries in extreme northeastern Oklahoman such as manufacturing, health care, trades and tourism/hospitality/recreation.

From the assessments, NEO will develop training plans specific to each industry, which will include certificate and/or degree program options designed to enhance the companies’ production and performance capabilities. Partners in the project include Rogers State University, Claremore; Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Bartlesville; Northeast Oklahoma Technology Center; Grand Lake Manufacturing Council; Integris hospitals in Grove and Miami; and Craig County General Hospital in Vinita.

In addition, the State Regents awarded a one-time grant of $50,000 to the Center for Aircraft and Systems/Support Infrastructure (CASI) to help fund a program manager for two years.

CASI is a statewide coalition of Oklahoma colleges and universities that provides aircraft maintenance and repair engineering services and expertise to the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Fore Base, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration and the commercial aviation industry.

The program manager will coordinate center operations among campuses, serving as a liaison with faculty and students while advancing the CASI message to their individual stakeholders such as the OKC Air Logistics Center, Oklahoma aerospace businesses and external organizations such as the Air Force Research Laboratory.

The $50,000 matches the $25,000 that OSU and the University of Oklahoma, Norman, will each contribute to fund the program manager position.

“The purpose of these grants to OSU, NEO and CASI is to encourage partnerships in developing research, innovations and quality initiatives to improve our state’s economic future. By partnering with businesses and organizations higher education shares in their commitment to help Oklahoma prosper in this global marketplace. We are proud that our State System institutions are playing a significant role in making that happen,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said.