OSU Institute of Technology’s partnership with Public Service Company of Oklahoma was among 26 innovative collaborations recently recognized by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for furthering the education of Oklahoma's workforce.
The Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award is designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through the State Regents' Economic Development Grants.
The partnership between Public Service Company of Oklahoma began several decades ago when PSO became the primary driving force behind OSUIT’s High Voltage Program. This program is highly successful and serves approximately 130 students currently.
Institutions involved in these partnerships provide $500 in other financial support and receive a matching $500 State Regents' Economic Development Grant that is applied to either the tuition of an employee of the business being recognized; a paid internship for a current student of the institution to work at the business being recognized; a faculty externship with the business being recognized; or the enhancement of the partnership with additional equipment, materials or supplies.
Green Country has depended on PSO since 1889 to supply reliable, renewable, and affordable electricity which has allowed business growth, innovation and the creation of opportunities.
Headquartered in Tulsa, they now power 30,000 square miles across the state serving nearly 600,000 customers and employing over 1600 Oklahomans.
“PSO provided the education and training needed to be accepted anywhere in the industry. I worked as a lineman 12 years before going to work for PSO,” Barton Petitt, OSUIT high voltage instructor said. “Their apprenticeship increased my job skills to a much higher level than I ever could where I was previously.”
The benefits of partnering with the power company have contributed to the success of OSUIT program students and graduates. PSO offers numerous paid internship opportunities every year to allow hands-on experience for OSUIT students and possible employment for graduates.
“As I approached retirement after 39 years in the field, I was ready to leave the industry and wanted to share the knowledge and experience to pass on to students looking to join the workforce as a high voltage lineman as a professor for OSUIT’s School of Engineering & Construction,” Pettit said.
Throughout campus you can find innovative collaboration between PSO and OSUIT from a dedicated lounge with PSO’s company name and logo displayed, to donated supplies and equipment to help advance academic programs and through PSO employees serving on advisory committees for programs offered by OSUIT’s School of Engineering and Construction Technologies.
Submissions are provided by the institutions and reviewed by a committee of State Regents' staff and the EDC Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award committee to ensure the program's integrity. Only one partner summary is allowed per institution, with a maximum of 27 annual recognitions if each of the 27 public higher education institutions submits a partner to be recognized. Through outside sponsorship, the State Regents provide one plaque of recognition to honor the business partner and institution leaders for their outstanding partnership. They receive the plaque of recognition at a reception that is held in the spring of each year.