Friday, November 19, 2010
Tulsa higher ed partners to promote engineering grads
TULSA (Nov. 19, 2010) – Leaders from six Tulsa educational institutions gathered Friday to address the pressing need to increase the number of engineering graduates for Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma over the next decade.
“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.”
Howard Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa and OSU Center for Health Sciences, applauded the institutions working together to create the unique alliance to benefit students and employers.
“This is a collaborative effort between TCC, Tulsa Tech and the public and private universities in our community to encourage and keep engineering talent in our state,” Barnett said. “We’re collaborating to ensure students are aware of the opportunities available in the engineering field beginning in high school and continuing through college.”
Data from the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development shows Oklahoma is likelyto 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.
Additionally, the Alliance engages the local business community to create an ongoing dialogue in which training requirements and career opportunities are communicated to the schools and 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 email email@example.com.