Economic Summit at SE Features 13 Speakers on Wide Variety of Topics
Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, former president of Southeastern, was the event's keynote speaker.
Some 100 professionals from business, industry, economic development, and higher education converged June 4 at Southeastern Oklahoma State for the E3 Summit. This economic development event was hosted by Southeastern as part of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Making Place Matter initiative.
A total of 13 individuals – including Chancellor Glen D. Johnson of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education and Oklahoma State Sen. Josh Brecheen -- presented comments on a wide variety of topics, divided into four categories: Collaborative Governance, Social Inclusion, Livable Community, and Innovative Economy.
Sen. Josh Brecheen was among the speakers at the economic summit.
Southeastern president Larry Minks offered welcoming remarks, and Kathy Hendrick, director of the Center for Regional Competitiveness, was the event organizer.
In his keynote address, Chancellor Johnson, who served as president of Southeastern from 1997-2006, noted the strong degree of linkage between economic development and higher education.
“The overwhelming majority of states that have a high percentage of their citizens with a college degree have a higher per capita income," he stated in his presentation.
“If Oklahoma is going to remain economically competitive, we must have the best educated and productive workforce that we can assemble," he said.
The chancellor noted that the state system has an “aggressive plan’’ in place to address the changes and challenges in the 21st century. He cited the Complete College America program -- a degree completion initiative that exceeded its first-year goal of a 12-year plan -- as one example.
“We know that in a global economy, over 90 percent of the fastest-growing jobs will require a college degree,’’ he said.
Johnson also pointed to the value of a college degree, citing statistics that demonstrate the lifetime earnings far exceed the holder of a high school diploma. Also important, he said, is the fact that 89 percent of Oklahoma college graduates with bachelor degrees stay in the state and are employed after one year after graduation.
Finally, Johnson emphasized that studies/surveys by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber Foundation, Fallin for Business.com, and the Battelle Study all gave high marks to higher education in the state.
Conducted for the State Chamber of Oklahoma by the research firm Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, the study states that public higher education “brings highly substantial benefits for Oklahoma.”
According to Battelle, Oklahoma's higher education system generates economic returns that equal nearly five times the amount of funding it receives. Released earlier this year, the report says the state sees $4.72 in return for every dollar of state funding that public higher education receives.
Other speakers at E3 included Donnalla Miller, business owner; Bob Rhoden, Workforce Solutions Texoma; Kathy Hendrick; Kerry Manning, Southern Workforce Board; Kenny Simpson, Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma; John Redman, USDA; Bill Carter, Oklahoma Small Business Development Center; Susan Stockton, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; Brad Underwood, Texoma Area Paratransit System; Tony Kaai, Denison Development Alliance; and Brian Aspell, manufacturing vice president.