Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology received two different grants totaling $4.4 million from the U.S. Department of Labor as part of $474.5 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country. OSUIT’s funds will help further the Career Pathways for Adult Workers project through an advanced manufacturing grant and OSUIT’s Orthotic and Prosthetic program through a consortium grant with five other colleges. OSUIT was the only institution in Oklahoma to be awarded money from these federal grants.
“These grants will help OSUIT as it works to give Oklahomans the training and professional credentials they need to succeed in the workforce,” said Governor Mary Fallin. “OSUIT’s outstanding work helps students to find good jobs and helps businesses find the skilled labor they need. That, in turn, is helping to grow Oklahoma’s economy and raise our national profile as a great state to invest and do business in.”
Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis said, “OSUIT has a history of providing the knowledge and training that places our graduates among the most sought after in a myriad of industries. These grants will enhance our work and mean greater opportunities for our students.”
OSUIT’s Career Pathways for Adult Workers program received an advanced manufacturing grant of nearly $2.75 million, which provides participants with academic and student support so they can enter, retain and complete workforce training. The grant allows for the expansion of the program to include night and weekend classes and lab offerings, as well as add blended learning through online offerings of select courses.
OSUIT’s Orthotic and Prosthetic program also received a grant for slightly less than $1.67 million as part of a consortium of five colleges that will focus on increasing the number of students earning credentials in order to impede the expected shortage of workers. OSUIT’s grant is part of a total grant of just under $11.2 million. The large grant will allow the five colleges to focus on recruitment and retention and provide a way to give credit to students for prior learning experiences and military vocations. The grant also seeks to create innovative online learning opportunities, accelerate training pathways, support job placement and develop stackable credentials.
“Being selected as the sole recipient of these grants in Oklahoma speaks directly to OSUIT’s track record of success in meeting current economic demand for an educated, highly skilled workforce and reinforces our resolve to collaborate with industry partners to fill the skills gap with qualified technicians,” said Dr. Bill Path, OSUIT president.
The awards are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program, which is a $2 billion multi-year federal initiative designed to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers. The federal grant money helps the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.
“We are honored to receive the grant money, and we know the targeted funds will help meet the goals we have for OSUIT,” Path said. “The students will benefit greatly from these funds, and we are excited to see the progress this will bring.”
The 57 grants will support 190 projects in at least 183 schools in every state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The grants will expand programs in growing industries, such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, and encourage geographic and industry sector collaboration through the development of both statewide and multistate college consortia.
“These investments in demand-driven skills training bring together education, labor, business and community leaders to meet the real-world needs of the changing global marketplace,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “These partnerships strengthen not only the American workforce, but the American economy as well.”