MAY 12, 2004

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OCCC partners with Southeastern to assist aviation industry

A new program in aviation management was recently created through a partnership between Oklahoma City Community College and Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. An associate degree in aviation management from the Community College will now be fully transferable to the bachelor's degree program in aviation from Southeastern.

A program created to meet the workforce development needs of Tinker Air Force Base, the Federal Aviation Administration and the aviation industry in central Oklahoma was recently unveiled by Oklahoma City Community College and Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

It's designed for people who are interested in the field of aviation management and who want to ultimately earn a bachelor's degree in aviation.

"After talking with officials in the aviation industry, it became apparent that there was a strong demand for an Oklahoma workforce in aviation management," said Robert Todd, president of Oklahoma City Community College. "This partnership will allow those employees at Tinker and FAA who don't have a degree in their field to gain advanced skills and knowledge and earn a bachelor's degree."

"We are enthused about the opportunity to continue to expand one of Southeastern's most unique programs into the Oklahoma City market,'' said Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Glen D. Johnson. "Our success in just three short years at Tinker AFB has been phenomenal, growing from an initial enrollment of 40 to the current enrollment of 150 students. Southeastern is proud to have the largest aviation program in not only Oklahoma, but in this region of the country. This new partnership brings together the strengths of two institutions to ultimately provide additional educational opportunities for more students.''

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently approved the partnership between Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma City Community College. An associate degree in aviation management from the Community College will now be fully transferable to the bachelor's degree program in aviation from Southeastern. Included in the proposal was $110,000 to construct classrooms at the College's new south facility to be used in the fall 2004 by the program and the College's business Training Center.

"Oklahoma City Community College has been absolutely great to work with,'' said Dr. David Conway, Director of the Aviation Sciences Institute at Southeastern. "They have a dedicated and highly professional administrative staff that is willing to challenge the status quo and are eager participants in this unique educational venture.''

Although there are similar programs at other state universities, this program is unique in that it does not require flight training. College officials recruited a variety of industry professionals to revamp the curriculum in order to better meet current job requirements in aviation management.

Luther Trent, director of airports for the City of Oklahoma City, serves as chair of the aviation management council and said the key to aviation management as a career sequence is not the word aviation as much as it is management.

"It's a very good field for the future," said Trent. "We see aviation management as continuing to grow for years and years to come and we need people with experience in the field in order to fill the positions available here in Oklahoma."

Larry Grummer, coordinator of transportation technology at Oklahoma City Community College, said students can now enroll at the College and have a seamless transition into a bachelor's degree at Southeastern. He added that most of the classes required for both institutions can be taken in the Oklahoma City Metro area.

Pat Downes, director of the Downtown Airpark, is also serving on the curriculum committee. "If students can get a good feel for what the aviation industry is all about; the many different aspects including public, private, military and commercial - and at the same time develop some good strong basic management skills and instincts - then students are truly only limited by their imaginations."

Trent said most people think of careers in aviation as piloting, but he said there are a wide variety of career opportunities such as accounting, public relations, real estate, marketing and sales.

"Transportation is a critical element in our society," said Downes. "The world is getting smaller. With the trade barriers coming down, there are a lot of economic development opportunities hinging on the ability to move goods, services and people into position to make things happen."

For more information, contact Paula Gower at 1-405-682-7590