State Regents tecognize Western Oklahoma State College, Red River Flight Academy partnership
Front row, left to right: the Honorable Dave Lopez, Secretary of Commerce and Tourism; Lisa Greenlee, Western Oklahoma State College; President Phil Birdine, Western Oklahoma State College; Jerry Yates, Red River Flight Academy; Bryan Patzkowski, Red River Flight Academy, Chrystal Overton, Western Oklahoma State College.
Back row, left to right: Dr. Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education; Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb.
Western Oklahoma State College 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.
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.″
Western Oklahoma State College and Red River Flight Academy – WOSC has a long-standing history in aviation education. However, due to the economic climate, WOSC contemplated discontinuation of this high-cost program. In spite of the economics, the community support and demand for the program inspired WOSC to maintain the professional pilot degree program. The continuation of this program was made possible through a partnership with RRFA. This partnership allows WOSC to offer the only Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved, Part 141 flight school in southwestern Oklahoma. This partnership increases opportunities for individuals in rural southwest Oklahoma to receive an Associate in Applied Science degree in aviation with a professional pilot option.
More details about the partnerships are available on the State Regents’ website at www.okhighered.org/econ-dev.