State Regents Recognize SWOSU and Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition Partnership
Southwestern Oklahoma State University was among 26 business and higher education partnerships throughout the state recently recognized for their innovative collaborations that further the education of Oklahoma’s workforce.
SWOSU was honored for its work with the Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition (SOIC) partnership.
SOIC is a regional partnership consisting of the five universities and colleges, six career technology institutions and two councils of government in southwest Oklahoma. Other partners include local and state economic development organizations.
The organization evolved from SWOSU’s willingness to apply for and host a U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center grant to establish the coalition. With a grant funded through the U.S. Department of Labor, SOIC has purchased and placed medical simulators throughout southwest Oklahoma, increasing the number of health care training simulator sites from three to 11. SOIC is currently working on developing a career pathways system at a pilot site in southwest Oklahoma that can be replicated throughout the state.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Economic Development Grant for the Partnership Recognition 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 partnerships with additional equipment, materials or supplies. The State Regents provide a $500 match to the waivers.
“When businesses partner with higher education, the regional and state economy wins,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Oklahoma’s colleges and universities collaborate with businesses to provide customized education and training, and through these efforts, students receive hands-on, career-related experiences that better prepare them for today’s business world. As economic engines, higher education institutions serve as catalysts for generating ideas and business opportunities. Colleges and universities also support health and wellness initiatives through medical centers and recreational facilities that benefit not only the lives of their students but their surrounding communities.″
SOIC is a unique voluntary association consisting of the following members: SWOSU, Western Oklahoma State College, Cameron University, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Redlands Community College, Caddo Kiowa Technology Center, Canadian Valley Technology Center, Western Technology Center, Southwest Technology Center, Great Plains Technology Center, Red River Technology Center, Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments and South Western Oklahoma Development Authority.