The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently recognized 28 collaborative partnerships between institutions and businesses throughout Oklahoma including OSU Institute of Technology’s partnership with Phillips 66.
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.
Phillips 66 and OSUIT have a very versatile partnership with continued support for programs in the School of Energy Technologies through equipment and financial donations as well as curriculum development. The Houston-based energy company also arranges guest speakers, workshops, internships and scholarships for OSUIT students.
Rafael Rengifo, tank and facility integrity manager of Phillips 66 Midstream, was instrumental in starting the internship program for Pipeline Integrity students at Phillips and has mentored the first two OSUIT students who interned at the company.
“We are proud to be recognized as supporters of OSUIT, and it’s this type of recognition that really matters,” said Rengifo. “This partnership connects our business of providing energy with the development of our new talent and our academic institutions.”
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.
“Our state system institutions collaborate with the business community to link academic programs directly to employment needs,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These partnerships allow our colleges and universities to provide innovative, interactive learning experiences for students that align with workforce requirements today and in the future.”
The partnership between Phillips 66 and OSUIT led to the development of the Pipeline Integrity Technology degree program. The company has continued to support the program through funding for the creation of an outdoor pipeline lab and the Phillips 66 Classroom.
Joe Bartlett, Pipeline Integrity instructor, said without business partnerships, program growth would definitely be hindered and students’ training would suffer.
“Without Phillips 66 we would not have nearly as much equipment and students wouldn’t be trained to the level they are now. These students see equipment and materials that may take them years to understand and experience in the field,” Bartlett said. “They have the opportunity to hone their skills in a safe environment and learn the proper use and correct methods of operation of various pieces of equipment that is specific to the industry.”
Rengifo said it’s not just OSUIT and the students that benefit from the partnership.
“The OSUIT interns we have had arrive well prepared in very specific areas of pipeline integrity, which you don’t normally find from other programs and universities,” he said. “Our support in resources and our discussions on the key areas for the Pipeline Integrity program are paid back in the young talent that are ready to support our operations on their first day.”