JUNE 17, 2009

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State Regents’ Partnership Recognition Program Links Business, Higher Education

Twenty-one businesses and higher education institutions throughout the state were recently recognized for their innovative partnerships through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Economic Development Grant for the Partnership Recognition Program.

This 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 partnership with additional equipment, materials or supplies. The State Regents provide a $500 match to the waivers.

“These partnerships are important for higher education in allowing colleges and universities to work hand-in-hand with businesses to provide highly qualified graduates to meet the needs of the workforce,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “For businesses, the partnerships are equally important in providing the ability to stay on the leading edge of education and training for their employees.”

The partnerships recognized for 2009 are:

Cameron University and Wilco Machine & Fab Inc. – The Center for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (CETES) at CU has developed a growth strategies model, which assists companies with their business growth strategies. The Manufacturers Alliance Extension agent connected Wilco and CETES – CU, which worked closely with Wilco management to assess their growth strategies. Student interns have also identified new customers and markets for the company. Wilco and CETES give students internship opportunities to apply their classroom learning to real-world business challenges. Additionally, Wilco was the first to prove the value and benefits of the Business Growth Strategies Model developed by CETES.

Connors State College and Oklahoma Natural Gas Company – CSC and ONG have had a respected relationship for several years in the Muskogee area. ONG has pledged $50,000 in support of constructing a new facility to provide students with quality instruction, enhanced learning tools and expanded resources. The facility will be housed on the Northeastern State University-Muskogee campus, which has joined with CSC to provide these services to students in northeast Oklahoma.

East Central University and the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training –Located near Ada, CLEET is a major educational asset for the surrounding area and ECU. The partnership between ECU and CLEET allows students to fulfill Oklahoma police officer certification requirements while completing bachelor’s degrees. The facility employs more than 40 full-time employees and attracts up to 500 people per day to the Ada area to obtain basic cadet training, continuing education training and security guard certification. In addition, CLEET and ECU continue to partner in many aspects of law enforcement education.

Eastern Oklahoma State College and Narconon Arrowhead – Collaboration between EOSC and Narconon Arrowhead began in 2007 after the college was interested in sharing Narconon’s successful drug rehab program with other drug abuse prevention professionals and counselors. Cooperative efforts between the two led to course material being submitted and approved by several Oklahoma certifying agencies. These courses have been successfully offered at two- to three-month intervals since approved. Narconon’s non-traditional program has been accredited by the prestigious Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities for more than a decade and has recently been granted another three-year accreditation.

Murray State College and New Products Development Center at Oklahoma State University – Over the past three years, MSC has formed a strong working partnership with the NPDC at OSU. The NPDC staff has participated with MSC and the Manufacturer’s Alliance to solve technical issues for 15 local businesses in south central Oklahoma. In addition, the NPDC has partnered in providing research and engineering support in developing three technical grants. The partnership has been instrumental in creating new jobs and providing rural businesses with a portal to innovative products and high-tech product development for local businesses.

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and Ottawa County Health Clinic – NEO A&M is in its fourth year of its partnership with the Ottawa County Health Clinic. In addition to filling a need for more staff, students see how basic healthcare can be provided when limited funding is available. Open every Thursday evening, the clinic sees an average of 20 to 30 patients each week. It is staffed entirely by volunteers, from physicians to office personnel, while NEO’s nursing program provides two volunteers twice a week. Nursing student Sarah Smith took volunteering a step further when she applied for and received a $1,000 grant. The grant moved the clinic closer toward the purchase of a machine to monitor patients’ pulse, blood pressure and temperature.

Northeastern State University and Cherokee Nation Industries – CNI provides opportunities for interns as well as regular employment for Northeastern State University students and graduates at all three locations, with a preference for students who are Cherokee citizens. CNI also plays a major service role in enhancing the college by serving on advisory boards, making class presentations and mentoring students. CNI volunteers are serving as mentors to NSU College of Business and Technology students in a program designed to ease the transition into a professional environment.

Northern Oklahoma College and The Charles Machine Works Inc. – For more than nine years, the unique partnership between NOC and The Charles Machine Works, manufacturer of Ditch Witch products, has perpetuated economic development in northern Oklahoma. The Ditch Witch workforce has been prepared to compete in a highly competitive economy through their employee participation in NOC’s general education and technical support courses. Additionally, the collaborative working relationship has led to NOC establishing an Associate in Applied Science program that provides engineers, technicians and manufacturing specialists the opportunity to complete a degree.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University and the Woodward Industrial Foundation – The partnership between NWOSU and WIF dates back to the early 1990s when the organization became active in seeking a branch campus of NWOSU in Woodward to enhance the city’s economic development efforts. WIF assisted NWOSU in locating a temporary home for the campus in 1996 and then began efforts to find a permanent campus location. Developing a coalition of community leaders, elected officials and university personnel, WIF secured $2.8 million from the 2005 Higher Education Capital Bond Program for construction of a new campus. WIF also played a key role in the acquisition of land. NWOSU and WIF continue to work together to look for additional partnership opportunities to support the citizens of northwest Oklahoma.

Oklahoma City Community College and Western Oklahoma Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee – OCCC and Western Oklahoma Electrical JATC partnered in developing a training-to-credit degree program and in offering a non-credit wind turbine technician program. An Associate in Science Technology and an Associate in Applied Science Technology, each with an electrical construction emphasis, were developed incorporating technology credit hours from the apprenticeship program. As OCCC was developing a non-credit wind turbine technician program, it turned to JATC instructors who are now training wind turbine technician students at their training facility.

Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Panhandle Share-Ed Video Network and Panhandle Telephone Cooperative Inc. – The PSVN of member public schools has a unique rural, community and economic development partnership with OPSU and PTCI. OPSU, PSVN-member public schools and PTCI had their cooperation rewarded recently with a $415,219 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Grant. PSVN utilizes state-of-the-art videoconferencing to deliver high school and college courses through the use of interactive television equipment. The real-time ITV classes provide eligible high school juniors and seniors with an opportunity to begin undergraduate studies. The member public school systems and OPSU also provide graduate degree programs and Red Cross disaster training.

Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business and Central Rural Electric Cooperative – The OSU Center for Executive and Professional Development in the Spears School of Business and the CREC partnered to provide a LeadershipSource Professional Development Program series in 2007. The series is comprised of six, two-hour seminars offered in fall and spring. More than 40 companies received leadership development through this series. Both CREC and CEPD joined together with facilities from CREC, marketing efforts from CREC and CEPD, and practical instruction from the Spears School of Business faculty to provide programs.

Oklahoma State University - Oklahoma City and Minick Materials – Minick Materials is a family-owned company that is one of the largest landscape material distributors in the region. The partnership began in the 1980s when Sam Minick was a student in the OSU-OKC horticulture program. Over the years, Minick developed a lasting partnership with OSU-OKC and Dave Edwards, horticulture technologies division head. What makes Minick Materials an outstanding corporate partner is its dedication to the community by donating materials to local churches, daycares and retirement centers. The company continued its community service by donating all materials as well as 562 hours of labor to the beautification project for the new OSU-OKC Agricultural Resource Center.

Redlands Community College and Pro-Fab Inc. – RCC’s manufacturing extension agent for the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, Mike Raymond, has worked with Pro-Fab on the Center for Aerospace Supplier Quality project that helps Oklahoma manufacturers secure contracts with Tinker Air Force Base and other government agencies. Pro-Fab is one of the premier privately owned companies in high-speed, ultra-precise machining and manufacturing for the global aerospace and defense industry of today. This project has been ongoing over the past two years to help refine processes and methods used to help Pro-Fab have more success.

Rogers State University and Grand River Dam Authority – GRDA has promoted economic development through its support of educational opportunities that have enhanced skills of graduates from RSU. GRDA has been a frequent contributor to the scholarship fund, enabling many first-generation college students to attend RSU. These donations also provided competitive academic scholarships to attract high-quality students to campus. In addition, GRDA offers internships to RSU students in business and environmental conservation degree programs, providing them with unique learning experiences in a real-world corporate environment. GRDA also supports the latest technology through donations to academic and athletic programs, purchasing smart boards for classrooms at RSU-Pryor and providing funding for a baseball scoreboard and athletic sponsorships.

Rose State College and Tinker Federal Credit Union – TFCU has made an annual commitment of $20,000 to the RSC’s Tinker Federal Civic Leaders Program, an intense leadership development initiative. For several years, TFCU has conducted a Win Your Books campaign that reimburses the cost of textbooks up to $500 for one student at each of its partner schools, including RSC. Additionally, TFCU has an internal educational assistance program that encourages all employees, after one year of employment, to further their educations and expand their knowledge and abilities. This program reimburses employees for college courses, including tuition, books and related fees.

Seminole State College and Wewoka Industrial Authority – A partnership between SSC, the Wewoka Industrial Authority and city of Wewoka leaders has resulted in great things happening in the city. Joint efforts and utilizing SSC’s Rural Business and Resources Center resulted in creating a business incubator in the vacant Big Yank building in downtown Wewoka, where Round House Manufacturing Company started a satellite sewing plant that currently employs 19. A new metal fabricator for heat and air equipment landed in the incubator in 2008 and currently has two employees. The partnership also resulted in the expansion of TMCo, a local company that manufactures orifice fittings used for the flow measurement of gas and other hydrocarbons. The Wewoka Industrial Authority, the USDA, and SSC’s Rural Business and Resources Center secured a $100,000 grant and a $200,000 loan to help make this expansion possible while adding 10 jobs.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma – Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has made a tremendous impact and investment in southern Oklahoma. The Choctaw Nation’s first major contribution was refurbishing the Choctaw Tower 10 years ago, while the most recent capital investment was the newly constructed student union building. The Choctaw Nation participates in an economic bi-state group focused on connecting education, industry and economic development. The Choctaw Nation also hosts a youth leadership summit each summer, which Southeastern co-sponsors. The Choctaw Nation provides numerous scholarships to its members and partners through the O.J. Harvey Scholarship and also provides tuition reimbursement to its employees that want to further their educations and expand their knowledge and abilities with a college education. In addition, the Choctaw Nation encourages its youth to attain the highest level of education by sponsoring Native American Visitation Day at Southeastern. The university and the Choctaw Nation have numerous partnerships, such as the Southeastern Office Retention Staff, Choctaw peer advisors on campus and the Native American Graduation Reception.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University and Granna’s – Granna’s has had a long-term partnership with SWOSU’s Center for Economic and Business Development through the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center and the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance. Granna’s is a U.S. Department of Agriculture food processing plant that currently employs 14 daytime and four partial night shift employees, producing 4,500 meals per day. Its product list has grown to a current menu of 27 ready-to-serve entrees distributed to various community action programs throughout the state. Instrumental to the success of SWOSU’s partnership with Granna’s have been the significant contributions from the team of student interns performing much of the behind-the-scenes research and preparation for the projects.

Tulsa Community College and Tulsa Technology Center – TCC and TTC have a long history of collaborating, planning programs and sharing resources to support educators and prepare students for careers in areas such as healthcare, aviation, manufacturing and engineering. Through an unprecedented interlocal agreement, they jointly purchased the Skyline East Building and share space for classrooms, meeting rooms and administrative offices. “The 8th Floor,” which is located in Skyline and staffed by both TCC and TTC, provides professional development for educators from consortium schools, infusing technology into their curriculum and offices. The Business Assistance Center, supported financially by both TCC and TTC, provides self-employment preparedness and small business management support. Through the TCC Flight Center and TTC Aviation Alliance, space is shared between the institutions at the TTC Riverside Campus to accommodate the flight training and air traffic control programs.

Western Oklahoma State College, Jackson County Memorial Hospital and JCMH Health Care Corp. – JCMH and JCMH Health Care Corp. have been tremendous partners with WOSC for many years. JCMH has been instrumental in the initiation of WOSC’s registered nursing and radiology program. JCMH has been a primary site for clinical support since 1982, and JCMH Health Care Corp. is the leading contributor toward WOSC’s endowment program through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. JCMH Health Care Corp. has provided three endowments of $125,000 for a total of $375,000, which have been matched by the State Regents. JCMH has also continued its support of WOSC’s efforts in program expansion through financial contributions to help publish the college’s “Career Focus” magazine – distributed in 50,000 homes throughout western Oklahoma – and the annual academic schedules disseminated throughout this same area. JCMH Health Care Corp.’s latest contribution of $60,000 per year to assist in the expansion of WOSC’s nursing program is a tremendous commitment in helping the college meet the registered nursing needs in southwestern Oklahoma.

More details about the partnerships will be available soon on the State Regents’ Web site at www.okhighered.org/eco-devo.