Twenty-two business and higher education partnerships throughout the state were recently recognized for their innovative collaborations that further 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; faculty externships with the partnering businesses; and/or enhancement of the partnerships with additional equipment, materials or supplies. The State Regents provide a $500 match to the waivers.
"Oklahoma’s colleges and universities are working to improve Oklahoma's economic future by partnering with area businesses to provide our State’s workforce with expanded education and training opportunities. Through these efforts, students receive hands-on, career-related experiences that better prepare them for entry into today’s business world” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Higher Education provides the most efficient path toward a better trained workforce which in turn will strengthen Oklahoma’s position in the global marketplace.”
The partnerships recognized for 2011 are:
Cameron University and OK Family Publishing – Since 2007, CU's Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CETES) has partnered with OK Family Publishing to help them realize its dream of publishing a free, monthly, quality family magazine. Since then, the company has published Red River Family MagazineandRed River Kids Magazine.In 2010, the companydecided to expand to central New Mexico and rolled out Rio Grande Family Magazine. As mentors, CU has guided OK Family Publishing through growth strategies and placement of student interns for design, marketing and research. As a result, several students have gained “real-world” experience as freelance writers and artists.
Connors State College and Cross Telephone Company – The partnership between CSC and Cross has strengthened the learning atmosphere at CSC and contributed to Warner, a family-friendly community. To date, Cross has contributed more than $100,000 to CSC’s athletic programs and scholarships. In addition, Cross was very influential in the naming and support of buildings on the Warner campus, especially the student housing building, which bears the name Miller’s Crossing. Cross also extends its generosity to the community. The company recently sponsored Cow Chip Day, an annual community event encouraging students, family and friends to join together for a day of fun, games and camaraderie.
East Central University and Valley View Regional Hospital – Health care professionals are in high demand, and the partnership between ECU and VVRH addresses this need. VVRH provides a clinical site and adjunct professors for ECU’s nursing program. Junior-level clinical lab courses are also held at the hospital, allowing seniors to engage as preceptors. VVRH’s School of Medical Technology Clinical Laboratory Science is one of three clinical programs in Oklahoma. In this stringent program, ECU students work in five major areas: blood bank, chemistry, hematology, immunology and microbiology. VVRH not only functions as a training site for ECU’s nursing students, but the hospital also supports a nursing professorship endowment.
Eastern Oklahoma State College and McCurtain Memorial Hospital – EOSC has partnered with McCurtain Memorial in training health care workers in southeastern Oklahoma for nearly 20 years. McCurtain Memorial has served as a clinical site for hundreds of EOSC nursing students. Recently, it partnered with EOSC and Southeastern Oklahoma State University to offer two new Associate in Applied Science programs, medical laboratory technology (MLT) and physical therapy assistance, with additional allied health programs to follow. McCurtain Memorial laboratory staff serve as program directors, provide didactic instruction and oversee MLT students during clinical rotations. The program, in its second year, has produced several graduates, and plans are being made to increase admittance into the program.
Langston University and the City of Langston – LU’s partnership with the city of Langston has facilitated the acquisition of numerous federal grants, including Housing and Urban Development funding to revitalize T.G. Green Park’s softball field, establishment of a business resource and incubator center, and construction of a 3,000-square-foot farmers’ market. Renovation of the softball field and construction of the farmers’ market will produce 15 spaces for small farm businesses to sell produce. The city of Langston and Langston Community Development Corp. worked jointly on two grants. One will produce a mile of sidewalks and lighting, and the other will make the town hall more eco-friendly. The city has also donated two new law enforcement vehicles to LU to help increase the mobility and presence of patrolmen on campus.
Murray State College and Sodexo – MSC and Sodexo’s partnership benefits many people in the Tishomingo area. A prime example of Sodexo’s contribution to MSC’s students is the Sodexo Student Emergency Fund. This fund provides relief to students who find themselves in dire circumstances. Last year, Sodexo introduced the Traveling Chef program at MSC for International Week. Sodexo also partners with numerous projects both on and off the MSC campus by providing them with volunteer staff and reduced-price or donated food. Some examples are the Lions Club, the Free Spay and Neuter Clinic, Johnston County’s annual Christmas dinner, Phi Beta Lambda chapter’s annual canned food drive in the Tishomingo area and eight other beneficiaries in the community.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and Inter-Tribal Council – With assistance from the Inter-Tribal Council and local tribal chiefs, NEO was one of seven institutions to be awarded a $2 million Federal Title III grant to renovate space for a Native American Success and Cultural Center on campus and hire personnel to provide career services to all students. Grant funds will also provide a stipend for tribal elders from each of the area tribes to work with NEO students on culture and language preservation research projects. NEO also partnered with the Peoria Tribe, who received an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to develop a passive water treatment system on Tar Creek and an Oklahoma Humanities Council grant with the goal of educating area teachers about the culture of local tribes in a weeklong summer 2011 Teacher Institute.
Northeastern State University and Oklahoma Department of Commerce – Since 2004, ODOC‘s partnership with NSU’s Oklahoma Center for Rural Development (OCRD) has provided geographic, demographic, economic and growth information about Oklahoma communities and the state as a whole. With ODOC’s support, these Oklahoma communities and businesses have used this data to attract new business and assist local businesses expanding within Oklahoma. These services include market profiles, specific demographic analysis and site selection services. In 2009, NSU lost funding that supported these services, but with the help of ODOC and the Legislature, funding was maintained for the 2011 fiscal year. From July-December 2010, OCRD completed 153 projects for 83 different communities.
Northern Oklahoma College and Fractionation Research, Inc. – Since September 2010, the partnership between NOC and FRI has provided job shadowing opportunities to more than 20 students and is a valuable new partner for process technology (PTEC) students and the program. The two distillation columns at the FRI facility provide opportunities for students to observe a multitude of operational modes, including startup/shutdown, normal and abnormal operating conditions, and mechanical change-outs. The director and operations personnel also support this program in multiple ways, including participation on the PTEC Advisory Board. NOC hopes to use this grant to provide gas vouchers to help offset the students’ transportation costs to and from the FRI facility.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University, the City of Alva and the Alva Recreation Authority – When a one-cent sales tax passed in May 1999 to support economic development in Alva, a partnership was formed between the city of Alva, the Alva Recreation Authority and NWOSU. Half of the sales tax proceeds were earmarked to build the Alva Recreation Park, and the other half goes to NWOSU for scholarships to new students attending the Alva campus. To date, more than $2 million has been collected and used for scholarships. NWOSU has agreed to add two new women’s sports, softball and soccer, and the teams will play their games on fields constructed at the Alva Recreation Park.
Oklahoma City Community College and the Kirkpatrick Foundation – The Kirkpatrick Foundation has provided OCCC’s award-winning film and video production program with more than a half-million dollars in grants. The gifts have provided for state-of-the-art cameras, lighting and equipment for students pursuing careers in the film industry. OCCC believes the Kirkpatrick Foundation and is dedicated to revitalizing community engagement in arts education.
Oklahoma Panhandle State University and the Town of Goodwell – OPSU and the town of Goodwell team up and share support services such as police protection, fire suppression and emergency medical services, trash collection, water, a sewage system and engineering services. Town-sponsored clean-up days are also held before significant campus events, such as homecoming and commencement. The new OPSU criminal justice program receives strong support from the Goodwell Police Department in the form of advisory committee participation and instruction. A similar collaboration is underway for a proposed EMT option at OPSU. This grant will be used to support additional course work for employees of one of the critical services for the town of Goodwell.
Oklahoma State University and DARP Processing – DARP first contacted OSU’s Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center (FAPC) in July 2009 and expressed a need to understand and comply with federal poultry processing regulations. Due to the very complex nature of these federal regulations, the FAPC provided ongoing assistance until processing operations began in September 2009. Subsequent training and technical assistance in food safety regulations has been delivered and continues to date. Additionally, the FAPC assisted with DARP’s membership in the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, as well as providing a preliminary drop-off point for product deliveries to Stillwater-area customers. These marketing venues create business opportunities for Oklahoma poultry producers in niche′ markets.
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology and the College of the Muscogee Nation – The partnership between OSUIT and the College of the Muscogee Nation has included professional development and training for tribal employees, summer programming for youth, business assistance and various economic development projects. In 2003, OSUIT obtained support from the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes in Muskogee to establish a Native American college in Okmulgee, College of the Muscogee Nation. The college opened in 2010 and is accredited through OSU, with OSUIT providing class space, faculty, curriculum, publications, public relations support and ongoing consultation. Consecutively, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation provides faculty expertise in the Muscogee language and culture, Native American history, tribal services and casino gaming operations.
Oklahoma State University–Oklahoma City and Chesapeake Energy Corp. – The Saturday Farmers’ Market on the OSU-OKC campus is a popular auxiliary activity conducted by the Agriculture Technologies division. Upon hearing the need for a mid-week, off-campus farmers’ market location three years ago, Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon wholeheartedly committed to a sponsoring role. Arrangements were made for the OSU-OKC Farmers’ Market to open on a company-owned parcel of land near the Chesapeake campus. The market provides patrons with an opportunity to take home some of the freshest food in Oklahoma, straight from the fields of our farmers and ranchers who, in turn, make a positive financial impact on local economies from the produce and goods sold at the market.
Redlands Community College and HSI Sensing – The partnership between RCC and HSI has helped the manufacturer expand three times, with the last expansion in 1998 adding 15,000 square feet of manufacturing space, including a state-of-the-art electroplating laboratory. HSI has utilized RCC’s Manufacturing Alliance extensively on notable projects, including tax incentive assistance; lean manufacturing education and kaizen events; energy audits; and finding new suppliers, business contacts candidates for employment. One of the most valuable resources HSI has used is the Manufacturing Alliance’s extensive network. HSI anticipates utilizing this grant to set up an internship program for a RCC student.
Rogers State University and Jane Phillips Medical Center – The shortage of registered nurses stimulated RSU and JPMC to develop a bridge program that enables existing licensed practical nurses and paramedics to become RNs. With financial support from JPMC, RSU renovated classrooms and nursing labs for the program and provided funding to support nursing faculty salaries. The bridge program increases the skill levels of existing nursing staff, promotes a higher quality of care and reduces the shortage of RNs. The bridge program allows RSU students to increase their skills, employability and earning power. In 2010, two jobs were saved and four more were created at JPMC. This grant will provide tuition assistance to a JPMC employee.
Rose State College and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality – For nearly 40 years, DEQ has been a pacesetter and official protector of Oklahoma’s environment by providing sound guidance, technical assistance and regulatory benchmarks for RSC to train and place thousands of Oklahomans in water and wastewater operator jobs at municipalities throughout the state. DEQ has supported RSC’s Environmental Training Center in a variety of green activities, including program marketing, distance learning, continuing education and serving as a testing venue for operator certification.
Seminole State College and Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation – The Rural Business and Resources Center at SSC and Citizen Potawatomi CDC are both highly involved in two major economic development organizations – Oklahoma Southeast and Cross Timbers RC&D. The groups share information to assist clients and share ideas to provide economic stability to communities throughout its service area. Specifically, they have jointly worked on projects to create jobs in Wewoka, Meeker and Shawnee. A large number of Citizen Potawatomi tribal members take classes at SSC, receiving financial support from the tribe to attend college. The tribe has also supported capital improvements on the campus through support of the SSC Educational Foundation. Citizen Potawatomi executives Linda Capps and Kristi Coker have both served on SCC’s Foundation board for many years.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University Center for Regional Economic Development and the Texoma Regional Consortium for Durant High School in Oklahoma and Denison High School in Texas – Southeastern’s Center for Regional Economic Development and the Texoma Regional Consortium designed the Real Life Math! pilot project to put local professionals in high school classrooms. To date, Real Life Math! have helped more than 420 students understand the relevance of what they’re learning in order to increase their interest and chances at success. Topics covered in the project include: Proportions and Ratios; Geometry; Math in the Production Environment; Math in Business and Entrepreneurship; and Understanding Credit. Due to the success of this program, five additional high schools have signed on for the upcoming year.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University and W-W Livestock Systems – W-W came to the SWOSU Small Business Development Center and Manufacturing Alliance for assistance in obtaining financing to acquire Stampede Steel, another livestock equipment manufacturer. This acquisition will result in a total of 30 new jobs created in southwest Oklahoma and an additional $5 million in exports. This venture with SWOSU’s SBDC and Manufacturing Alliance has been a worthy experience for all involved. W-W gained valuable small business knowledge and provided feedback not only for the SBDC and Manufacturing Alliance to grow, but to encourage other small business owners to use the services as well.
Tulsa Community College and Community Service Council of Tulsa – TCC and Community Service Council of Tulsa’s P-20 Council have teamed up to increase college graduates in Tulsa. As members of the P-20 Council, TCC, Tulsa Public Schools and Union Public Schools developed a pilot project that increases access to dual enrollment opportunities by allowing qualified high school teachers to teach college courses at their high schools during the regular school day. This is an innovative model that may benefit students, especially if a strong working relationship between high school and college faculty exists. This grant will be used to fund a professional development session in summer 2011 that will bring high school and college faculty together to discuss ways to support students during the transition from high school to college.
More details about the partnerships will be available on the State Regents’ website at www.okhighered.org/econ-dev.