The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently recognized 27 collaborative partnerships between institutions and businesses throughout Oklahoma including OSU Institute of Technology’s long-standing partnership with the MidContinent Chapter of the Gas Processors Association.
The Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award is designed to highlight successful partnerships between education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents’ Economic Development Grants.
GPA and its six chapters, including MidContinent, serve the midstream energy industry, which is responsible for the transport, storage and wholesale marketing of oil and gas products. MidContinent, based in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, helped establish the Natural Gas Compression program at OSUIT in 1999 and recently began supporting the campus’ newest program, Pipeline Integrity Technology.
“The Natural Gas Compression program at OSUIT has created a pool of talented workers ready to hit the ground running,” said Brian Leedy, MidContinent president and business development manager at Exterran. “We are also excited about the relatively new Pipeline Integrity program at OSUIT. The students graduating from this program should see the same demand for their newly developed skill set.”
Institutions involved in these partnerships provide $500 for tuition waivers to employees of the partnering business; internships for current students to work at the partnering business; faculty externships with the businesses; and/or enhancement of the partnerships with additional equipment, materials or supplies. The State Regents award a $500 matching tuition waiver to the partnering businesses.
“Oklahoma’s colleges and universities drive economic advancement, collaborating with business and industry partners to link academic programs directly to employment needs in high demand areas,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, “Through these partnerships, students engage in hands-on career-related experiences and are better prepared for the workforce.”
MidContinent members work to prepare that future workforce by raising scholarship money every year for OSUIT students as well as donating funds for equipment and trainers. Last year, the organization donated about $45,000 toward scholarships and operating costs to the Natural Gas Compression program and $25,000 to the Pipeline Integrity program for classroom renovations and equipment.
Leedy said the MidContinent Chapter is a nonprofit organization made up of members who work in the midstream industry and volunteer their time and resources to the organization.
“We have worked hard as an organization to raise money for the benefit of the communities we work in and around. It’s always nice to be recognized for the work you’ve done. I was excited for our chapter to be nominated by OSUIT as it told me that our partners identify the value that our chapter creates,” he said. “OSUIT continues to graduate students with the experience and tools needed in our industry. We will continue to support their programs, as every dollar we donate returns to us tenfold. We are honored to be recognized by OSUIT.”