OSU Institute of Technology's partnership with Toyota Motor North America was among 27 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.
"As we celebrate our anniversary year, this recognition speaks to OSUIT's dedication to educating Oklahoma's workforce for the past 75 years and the next 75 plus years to come," said OSUIT President Bill R. Path. "Toyota is one of the longest-running partnership programs on our campus, providing a significant contribution to Oklahoma's automotive workforce since 1987."
OSUIT students in the Toyota Technician Training and Education Network (T-TEN) program within the School of Transportation & Heavy Equipment are instructed by Toyota-certified professionals using the latest Toyota and Lexus vehicles available to diagnose, service and maintain equipment using factory-recommended procedures, special tools and service information.
Toyota, the second largest car manufacturer globally, continues to innovate standards of excellence by modifying its T-TEN curriculum to reflect the ever-changing tide of advancements in automotive technology.
"For the past five years, Toyota has worked directly with OSUIT faculty and administration to update and implement a new curriculum that has since served as a model of standard for T-TEN's other 34 schools located across the United States," said Terryl Lindsey, dean of the School of Transportation & Heavy Equipment.
The program is certified in automotive chassis systems, automotive electrical systems, automotive engine and engine controls systems and automotive drivetrain systems. Students graduate with more than five ASE certifications, increasing their marketability as highly skilled and qualified candidates for employment. Toyota dealerships have a pipeline of new talent ready for training, and new OSUIT students receive proficient skills and training from an experienced Toyota instructor.
In line with all technical discipline programs at OSUIT, T-TEN students attend paid internships at Toyota certified dealerships and have access to Toyota-specific scholarships.
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.
"Despite the challenges of the 2020-21 academic year, our colleges and universities persisted in cultivating meaningful partnerships with public, private and nonprofit organizations," Chancellor Glen D. Johnson said in a recent news release. "The State Regents are proud to celebrate the impact of these partnerships on the workforce in our communities and the economic development of our state. Collaborations between businesses and our state system institutions advance Oklahoma's efforts to build the skilled workforce required to compete in today's global economy."
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.
"I applaud the Toyota T-TEN team's efforts to ensure that the quality of education provided, and technicians produced through the program are world-class," said Lindsey. "I am excited to see what the future holds for the OSUIT Toyota T-TEN program."