Q&A - September 20, 2015

A growing number of employers are seeking to fill “middle-skill” job vacancies. These are jobs that require education and technical training beyond high school but less than a bachelor’s degree, and this category currently represents the area of highest demand in the U.S. workforce.

OSUIT has a proven track record for successfully pairing up students who are learning marketable skills with corporate employers who are eager to hire well-trained personnel. In many disciplines, we offer hands-on education in advanced and emerging technologies that is designed to supply the middle-skill job needs of our industry partners.

This week, I would like to address a misconception that I sometimes hear from local high school students.

Q: I thought OSUIT was where you go when you can’t get into a real college.

It is actually very common for young people to put down their local college options because their true interest is to get as far away from home as possible after high school. Quips like “High School 2.0” or “the 13th Grade” are often bantered about in situations where students would be going to college in the same town as their high school or with many of the same students from their high school class. These are typical phrases that are used by high school students all over the country, and it would be highly unusual if local students did not use them to describe OSUIT.

Let me assure you that OSUIT is not only a real college, it is the college that everyone is talking about. In the short time that I have been here, this university campus has received continuing attention through various state and local news publications and news stations for its unique programs and technical niche in higher education and workforce development. Major newspapers from all across the state have covered the economic impact resulting from OSUIT’s unique model of higher education and industry collaboration. This campus has been recognized as a Military-Friendly School, an Approved STEM Jobs College, and listed among the 50 most affordable public colleges by AffordableColleges.com. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce has highlighted the work that OSUIT is doing to increase the state’s skilled-labor pool in multiple issues of “Oklahoma Now.” Numerous trade journals and higher education publications have shined a light on OSUIT’s success in developing classroom curricula and learning environments leading to student success.

For the second year running, U.S. News & World Report included OSUIT in their annual ranking of Best Colleges in America. They independently ranked OSUIT as the 6th best public college within a 15 state region in their “Best Regional Colleges” category. In the same report, OSUIT was identified as the top college in our region for students with the least amount of debt upon graduation. OSUIT is a real college, and being nationally recognized for our efforts to make quality education as affordable as possible is very gratifying.

By providing world-class training for middle-skill jobs, OSUIT is supplying the type of education that this nation needs the most, and it is available right here in Okmulgee. Please don’t forget to send your questions or comments about OSUIT to osuit-president@okstate.edu.