Another industry-educational partnership will help address Oklahoma’s workforce needs
Okmulgee-OSU Institute of Technology has officially opened the Industrial & Aviation Technologies Training Center (IATTC) on the Okmulgee campus.
The IATTC includes an advanced manufacturing lab with approximately $750,000 of existing equipment, a non-destructive testing lab, as well as a classroom and instructional space. The center will serve aviation and defense industries throughout the state as well as industries in the surrounding five counties: Okmulgee, Hughes, McIntosh, Okfuskee and Seminole.
“OSU Institute of Technology is committed to the industry training needs of our state,” said Dr. Bill R. Path, OSUIT president. “It is our mission to see Oklahoma’s workforce thrive, and aerospace technologies are essential to the state’s economy.”
Two critical issues facing rural Oklahoma are a lack of skilled workers and quality training programs available in manufacturing and aviation technologies in economically distressed regions; the result over time has been divestment by the private sector in these communities.
“This is a new area of growth potential for Oklahoma,” said State Rep. Scott Fetgatter. “The skills gap in our aerospace industries must be addressed through advanced training programs like those offered by the IATTC at OSU Institute of Technology. This center’s opening is a win for the state’s economy.”
Due to its centralized locality, Oklahoma has a strong aerospace hub and as a result, the aerospace industry has a significant impact on the state. According to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the industry brings in upward of $44 billion annually.
With strong projected industry growth, low career visibility and aging employees, the skills gap is increasing in these industries.
“As we work with industry throughout the state, the opening of the IATTC represents a major step in OSUIT’s efforts to alleviate that condition by addressing skills gap in the incumbent workforce and creating a stream of skilled workers necessary to support growth of manufacturing in Oklahoma,” said Charles Harrison, associate vice president of OSUIT Workforce & Economic Development.
The IATTC opening is made possible by an extension of a multiphase Department of Defense (DoD) grant that was originally awarded to OSUIT’s Division of Workforce & Economic Development in 2014. The $1.7 million grant extension is for two years.