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March 31, 2005 :: Grants Will Help Colleges’ Economic Development Efforts

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Three Oklahoma colleges have been awarded economic development grants totaling more than $370,000, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education announced today.

Cameron University (CU) in Lawton, Oklahoma City Community College (OKCCC) and Redlands Community College (RCC) in El Reno will each share in the grant money, which will help spur economic development activities in their areas.

RCC will receive approximately $170,000 for its collaborative project with VESTA (Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance) and the grape industry.

The purpose of the project is to provide a sound education and training curriculum for the grape-growing and wine-making industries, particularly in the economically depressed areas of Lincoln County and adjacent areas. The project also provides undergraduate education and research opportunities that benefit the students and the grape industry, while bringing lab services to small- and medium-sized operations.

CU will receive $100,000 to help fund its Technology Growth Strategies Program. This program will assist businesses in southwest Oklahoma in identifying and exploiting new markets, bringing existing technologies to new customers, altering existing products to increase sales and creating continued educational opportunities.

OCCC will receive $100,000 in support of its Nanotechnology and Engineering Informatics Technology Initiative. This project helps address the needs of the greater Oklahoma City area by providing professional development training and instruction to the manufacturing workforce, engineers and other technically trained members of the labor force. The project also creates credit courses and two new degree/certificate programs in nanotechnology and engineering informatics technology.

“Our public colleges and universities are taking the initiative by exploring new and innovative ways to help our state’s economy grow and prosper. We are excited about these and other economic development, research and quality initiative efforts that our institutions are creating and implementing, and we look forward to helping them be as successful as possible,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said.