April 28, 2008 :: State Regents Recognize Institution, Business Partnerships
Twenty business and higher education institution partnerships throughout the state were recently recognized for their outstanding cooperation that furthers the education of Oklahoma’s workforce.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Economic Development Grant for the Partnership Recognition Program is designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents’ Economic Development Grants.
Institutions involved in these partnerships provide $500 for tuition waivers to employees of the partnering businesses, internships for current students of the institutions to work at the partnering businesses or faculty externships with the partnering businesses. The State Regents provide a $500 match to the waivers.
"If we're to improve Oklahoma's future, we need creative collaborations like this program," said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. "The partnership between business and higher education benefits us three-fold: Businesses retain employees, employees improve their education and the immediate needs of the business community are being addressed."
The partnerships being recognized include:
- Cameron University and Techrizon, LLC – Techrizon has developed nearly 300 major versions and revisions of fire support systems software for the Software Engineering Center, Fire Support Software Engineering, located at Fort Sill in Lawton. With a staff of more than 300 professionals and more than three decades of experience in all aspects of the computer software industry, Techrizon and CU have a long-standing relationship. CU’s Department of Multimedia and Instructional Design frequently interacts with Techrizon, which leads to opportunities for faculty members and students to gain hands-on involvement in actual industry projects. In addition, CU has provided Techrizon with student interns and faculty members from other departments who have shared their expertise in the development of a new simulation training product.
- Carl Albert State College and Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center – EOMC has recognized that southeast Oklahoma experiences difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified radiologic technologists. As a result, the Le Flore County Trust Authority, on behalf of EOMC, and CASC, formally established a partnership to develop a new radiologic technology program to meet area staffing needs. The program graduated its first class of students in 2005, and EOMC immediately employed four graduates.
- Connors State College and the Town of Warner – Based on a relationship of more than 100 years, the Warner Town Council, city employees, and CSC faculty and staff have served hand-in-hand on committees that focus on development and unity for the town and the college. Recently, CSC applied for certification to provide a business incubator on campus, and the incubator and related training are expected to enhance the workforce objective for the area. The goal of CSC is to offer the incubator space to area entrepreneurs, including the Town of Warner, to enhance economic growth.
- East Central University and Tri-County Indian Nations Community Development Corporation -- A staunch supporter of both higher education and economic development, the Tri-County has become a true partner of ECU. Tri-County Executive Director Amy Childers Elliott supports and assists ECU with grant applications. Whether the applications are for joint grants or solely for ECU, she helps generate ideas and opportunities, teaches grant writing classes for ECU’s continuing education program and supports development in a broad spectrum of areas.
- Eastern Oklahoma State College and the U.S. Army Defense Ammunition Center – The McAlester Army Ammunition Plant has been a large part of the economic base of Pittsburg County and the surrounding region since 1942, when the U.S. Navy purchased almost 42,000 acres nine miles south of McAlester. Education has always been a high priority at the plant and in the region. The Defense Ammunition Center became a tenant of MCAAP in 1998, and since 2002, EOSC has been providing training for DAC. A minimum of 60 new DAC interns complete ammunition and computer training courses each year, and EOSC is partnering with DAC to develop two associate degree programs –ammunition management and quality assurance specialist (ammunition surveillance) [QUASAS].
- Murray State College and Kay Watson, Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance – Since 2000, MSC and the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance cooperated on numerous economic development projects, but when Kay Watson became the local manufacturer’s extension agent in 2004, the collaboration developed into a true partnership. The two have worked jointly on many projects where Watson has identified area businesses with opportunities for assistance and coordinated collaborative meetings. During the past year, MSC’s economic development coordinator has worked closely with Watson on 10 different projects, assisting businesses in a variety of ways, from securing financing to counseling on marketing and business strategies.
- Northeastern State University and Reasor’s – Through the financial support of Jeff Reasor, president of Reasor’s, NSU’s College of Business and Technology has established a Center for Retail Marketing. In addition to sponsoring programs that promote retail careers for students, the center also conducts marketing research for retail firms. Annual student programs have brought in national and regional executives from the retail industry to speak to NSU students in both Tahlequah and Broken Arrow. During the last academic year, both Reasor and a major women’s fashion merchandiser made presentations focusing on retail careers. Josh Reasor, Reasor’s promotions director, also spoke to several of NSU’s marketing and retail classes during the college’s annual “teach-in.”
- Northern Oklahoma College and OGE Energy Corp. – For more than nine years, a unique partnership between NOC and OGE, based in Oklahoma City, has perpetuated economic development in northern Oklahoma and has prepared the OGE workforce to compete in a highly competitive economy. Two OGE employees, Kenneth Anderson and Gilbert Hall Sr., have provided significant leadership and expertise in the formation and development of the Oklahoma Partnership of Industry and Education through NOC. This partnership between industry and educational institutions is one of the foremost collaborative partnerships of its kind, allowing additional channels for enhancement of job performance and career opportunities.
- Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Charles E. “Bill” Johnson Correctional Center – In August 2005, an agreement was developed through the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to allow NWOSU’s Community Services Program to provide a cognitive-behavioral drug treatment program for trainees at the Bill Johnson Correctional Center. NWOSU-CSP staff currently includes a program director, five full-time treatment counselors, an administrative assistant and four NWOSU students serving in paid internships. The drug-treatment program is designed to provide six hours of counseling per week, per trainee, per month. Each year, NWOSU’s program provides treatment to 440 trainees.
- Oklahoma City Community College and INTEGRIS Health – INTEGRIS, a progressive, employee-focused organization offering innovative benefit programs, has partnered with OCCC to offer INTEGRIS employees the opportunity to earn an Associate in Science in business management from OCCC without ever leaving the hospital campus. OCCC has a commitment to making higher education accessible, and through this partnership, has opened the possibility of college to many adults.
- Oklahoma Panhandle State University and Murphy-Brown, LLC – A pledge of $100,000 to OPSU by Murphy-Brown has helped make construction of OPSU’s new science and agriculture building a reality. The pledge, to be paid out over a 10-year period, will be used to help purchase and maintain laboratory equipment in Murphy-Brown’s new Water Quality Testing Lab. Currently, local officials responsible for municipal water testing must ship the water samples to the Department of Environmental Quality in Oklahoma City. Samples must be less than 30 hours old from the time they are drawn to the time they are set up for testing in a lab that is more than 200 miles away. The new water lab on OPSU’s campus will help area Oklahoma municipalities save on freight and time.
- Oklahoma State University and The Boeing Company – A vision of excellence for aerospace education in Oklahoma has led to a partnership between OSU and Boeing. In 2006, Ben Robinson, Boeing’s Oklahoma City site director, initiated a series of collaborative meetings with government and aerospace industry executives, as well as representatives of OSU and Rose State College, to address urgent intellectual needs of the industry and gaps in the Oklahoma aerospace educational pipeline. As a result of that meeting, a two-plus-two partnership between OSU and RSC was developed to offer a new aerospace logistics option in the Bachelor of Science in aerospace administration and operations program from OSU. An additional master’s degree and doctorate degree also are being offered. All three degrees are offered on RSC’s campus, which is located in close proximity of Oklahoma City-area industry employees. Distance learning options also are available to employees in Stillwater and Tulsa.
- Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City and TLC Florist and Greenhouses, Inc. – Charles and Linda Shackelford, owners of TLC in Oklahoma City, have been long-time supporters of OSU-OKC’s horticulture program. One of the top 100 garden center retailers in the United States for the past 15 years, the Shackelfords and TLC have donated plant materials for lab activities and improvement of OSU-OKC’s grounds and gardens, provided funds to help pay for student trips and allowed students and instructors to use the TLC nursery facilities as a teaching site for various class instruction activities. Recently, arrangements were finalized with the Shackelfords to provide a major gift to OSU-OKC to help fund construction of the new Agriculture Resource Center on campus, future home of the Agriculture Technologies Division.
- Redlands Community College and Kingfisher Kookers – Kingfisher Kookers, the oldest continuously operating grill manufacturer in the United States, established a partnership with RCC in 2006. This partnership began when the management of Kingfisher Kookers started working with Mike Raymond, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance extension agent housed at RCC, to streamline operations and increase profitability. Through this partnership, Kingfisher Kookers has virtually reinvented themselves as a modern operation by redesigning their plant layout and increasing production flow, implementing lean manufacturing, utilizing the advantage of Oklahoma tax incentives and increasing cash flow.
- Rogers State University and ConocoPhillips – ConocoPhillips and RSU have a long-standing relationship to provide higher education opportunities in northeastern Oklahoma to promote economic development. The corporation works to enhance RSU’s academic programs and has increased the number of college graduates through scholarships. RSU’s School of Business and ConocoPhillips have a particularly strong relationship. During the past year, 15 RSU students have performed their senior internships at ConocoPhillips in Bartlesville. Graduates who have completed internships with the corporation are in high demand, and many have been employed by ConocoPhillips.
- Rose State College and The Boeing Company – Boeing, the world’s largest producer of commercial aircraft and a prime defense and aerospace contractor, is a distinguished partner of RSC and the RSC Foundation. Boeing supports higher education at both RSC and throughout the region. They have provided several education grants to fund the RSC Dare to Dream Project, an innovative science program that promotes aerospace and engineering activities. Boeing works closely with selected Oklahoma colleges and universities to enhance undergraduate curricula, support continuing education of Boeing employees, recruit outstanding candidates for employment and collaborate on research that benefits the long-term needs of the aerospace industry.
- Seminole State College and Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, Inc. – A partnership between SSC and REI has benefited the economic climate of many communities in central Oklahoma. Through the joint efforts of SSC and REI, a Rural Business and Resources Center was established at SSC in 2005. The center has provided assistance to numerous individuals, businesses, chambers of commerce, economic development groups and city organizations within Seminole, Pottawatomie, Lincoln, Okfuskee and Hughes counties.
- Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Southern Workforce Board and Workforce Solutions Texoma – With unemployment at an all-time low of 3.4 percent in the Texoma region, business and industry faces a major challenge. To combat the problem, SWB and WST formed a steering committee named the Texoma Regional Consortium. Comprised of economic development professionals, workforce associates and higher education representatives, the TRC began to address the lack of a trained, qualified workforce. The most innovative part of this process has been the collaboration between the two-state regional workforce and economic development coalition. The TRC has been effective in reaching consensus, getting buy-in from all levels of bureaucracy and developing a working plan. SOSU also sees the importance of eliminating boundaries, even state lines, and SOSU and the Center for Regional Competitiveness are now key players with the support provided through the Economic Development Administration University Center Program.
- Southwestern Oklahoma State University and Hudson Technology Solutions, Inc. – In May 2007, SWOSU’s Computer Science Department and HTS developed a partnership to provide workforce development assistance in the area of wireless computer networks. The mission of HTS, established by SWOSU graduate Chris Hudson, is to provide high-quality network infrastructure to small and mid-sized business in Weatherford and western Oklahoma. Through this partnership, HTS has been able to increase the capacity of their Web services business and provide expanded customer service for technical problems of various degrees of difficulty. The business was also able to perform testing and planning of new server upgrades and provide expanded tower sites for a greater network coverage area. SWOSU also provided highly qualified student personnel to HTS.
- Tulsa Community College and Tulsa Public Schools – One of TCC’s important and long-standing community partners is TPS, the largest school district in Oklahoma. Various partnerships throughout the years have provided tutoring, career fairs, training and more. The success of these partnerships led to collaboration on a new program to meet the staffing requirements of the No Child Left Behind legislation. The creation of this new academic program met and exceeded the legislative requirements. When the program was developed, care was taken to create a pathway for successful students to complete the basic training and for those who chose to continue toward an associate degree with the potential of culminating in a teacher education certification at a four-year institution. To date, through this training, at least 10 TPS paraprofessionals have received associate degrees from TCC.