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May 31, 2005 :: State Regents Award Colleges With Economic Development Grants

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Four Oklahoma colleges have been awarded economic development grants totaling $430,000 from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Oklahoma State University Technical Branch–Okmulgee; Northern Oklahoma College, Tonkawa; Rogers State University, Claremore; and Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, will share in the grant money, which may help spur economic development activities in their areas.

OSUTB–Okmulgee will receive $125,000 to enhance its commercialization and technology transfer program that helps form and/or expand companies or licensing agreements in Oklahoma.

The State Regents have awarded NOC with a $120,000 grant to develop an Associate of Science degree in computer forensic science. The new program will provide education and training in information security for information systems administrators, security officers and assurance personnel.

NOC will work closely with several homeland security agencies in Oklahoma and Washington, D.C., as well as other industry partners, to incorporate essential technological skills, professional certifications and training requirements.

RSU will receive $120,000 for the Oklahoma Virtual Entrepreneurship Training Program and Incubator Network. The network is a collaborative effort of RSU, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, and the cities of Miami, Vinita and Grove to create job opportunities in rural communities in northeastern Oklahoma through distance education.

RSU and NEO will provide support to entrepreneurs with a virtual incubator program that offers technical assistance and business counseling services both online and with videoconferencing facilities. The three cities will provide the physical facilities for the incubators.

The training program will also identify potential products and provide ideas to entrepreneurs that match the strengths of the communities and have potential for long-term growth.

The State Regents also approved $65,000 for the Southeastern Oklahoma Economic Development Network at SEOSU to fund a program to help communities in southeastern Oklahoma develop strategies to find their strengths and capitalize on them. The network will implement the “Community Assessment and Action Team” concept to provide a complete assessment of the communities in southeastern Oklahoma. These assessments will ensure that the rural communities are economic development-ready.

“We are excited by the economic development initiatives of our colleges and universities,” said Chancellor Paul G. Risser. “Their commitment to contribute to the state’s economy and the quality of life for all Oklahomans is commendable. Our hope is that these kinds of efforts will continue to expand.”

The grants are the remainder of more than $3.9 million the State Regents have awarded during this fiscal year to support economic development, research and quality initiatives at various Oklahoma public colleges and universities. Other institutions awarded grants this fiscal year are Cameron University, Lawton; Northeastern State University, Tahlequah; Oklahoma City Community College; Oklahoma State University, Stillwater; and Redlands Community College, El Reno.