Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

January 2011

Tulsa Higher Ed Partners to Promote Engineering Grads

 

TCC Engineering Grads
Pictured after signing the Alliance agreement are, from left, Mark Rutland, ORU President; Gerard Clancy, OU-Tulsa President; Howard Barnett, OSU-Tulsa President; Tom McKeon, TCC President; Jacqueline Caldwell, University of Tulsa Chief of Staff; and Kara Gae Neal, Superintendent/CEO TulsaTech.

Leaders from six Tulsa educational institutions gathered Nov. 19 to address the pressing need to increase the number of engineering graduates for Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma over the next decade. They announced the formation of the Tulsa Alliance for Engineering signed by presidents from Tulsa Tech, Tulsa Community College, Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, Oral Roberts University and University of Tulsa. The agreement emphasizes the importance of generating student interest in engineering fields and providing a seamless education pathway for a bachelor or graduate degree in engineering to fill future job demands

“The response from the education and business community for this initiative has been phenomenal,” said Tom McKeon, TCC president. “Clearly we share the same desire to provide the best possible opportunities for Tulsa students so they can pursue their education and get jobs in Tulsa.”

Data from the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development shows Oklahoma is likely to experience shortages of approximately 200 Aerospace Engineers and 400 Electrical Engineers by 2014, with shortages of additional engineering specialties possible in that same time frame. These highly paid and highly specialized jobs require extensive study in curriculum that matches the current industrial and workplace demands.

Tulsa Chamber of Commerce data from 2009 shows engineers earned 47 percent more than the average wage earner from all industry groups in Tulsa. One engineer in Tulsa supports $295,000 in output in the Tulsa-area economy.

“The Tulsa Alliance for Engineering is Tulsa’s opportunity to recruit, train, and retain Oklahoma’s best and brightest students,” said Kara Gae Neal, Superintendent/CEO, Tulsa Tech. “Our goal is to expose students early on to the various fields of engineering so that their interest and passions are set by the time they enter college.”

Through the Alliance, area colleges will ensure opportunities for transferability of engineering course credit between institutions, share faculty, facilities, equipment, and resources, and partner to develop scholarship, loan, and grant assistance programs for engineering candidates.

The Alliance members will also work with the business sector to create more opportunities for student internships and mentorships. They will also create engineering awareness programs for elementary and secondary school students.

“We have a consistent need for engineers which makes this Alliance a win for Tulsa and our industry,” said Ken McQueen, director San Juan Region at Williams. “The Alliance will work together to help more students understand what engineering is about while providing access to a variety of education opportunities and ultimately job placement.”

The Alliance members will also work with the business sector to create more opportunities for student internships and mentorships. They will also create engineering awareness programs for elementary and secondary school students.

Students or businesses interested in the Tulsa Alliance for Engineering can call Susan Thompson, program coordinator, at 918-595-7557 or e-mail info@tulsaallianceforengineering.com.

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