Innovative Institutions and Business Partnerships Receive Regents Business Partnership Excellence Awards | News

Two local higher education institutions are among 26 business and higher education partnerships across the state that were recently recognized as innovative collaborations that advance the education of Oklahoma’s workforce.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Regents Business Partnership Achievement Award is designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher education environment through State Regents economic development grants. State Regent Michael C. Turpen served as emcee for the event, which was held March 9 at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Institutions involved in these partnerships pay $500 for tuition waivers to employees of partner companies; internships that allow current students to work in partner companies; teacher internships with partner companies; and/or improving partnerships with additional equipment, materials or supplies. The State Regents provide $500 consideration for the waivers.

“Our colleges and universities continue to work successfully with public, private and nonprofit partners to strengthen economic and workforce development in our state,” said Chancellor Allison D. Garrett. “The State Regents and I are proud to celebrate the positive impact of these partnerships as we all work together to build the skilled workforce needed to make Oklahoma competitive on the world stage.”

The partnerships recognized for 2022 in the Muskogee region are:

• Northeastern State University and Northeastern Community Health Centers Inc.

Since 2016, Northeastern Community Health Centers Inc. (NeoHealth) has monitored the health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff at Northeastern State University. NeoHealth, in partnership with another clinic near the Broken Arrow campus, has worked to ensure students have immediate access to health services. These partnerships provide NSU students with low-cost medical services on or near the university’s three campuses. During the pandemic, NeoHealth and NSU have secured over 4,000 BinaxNOW Ag card tests for students to use for free. NeoHealth and NSU have managed to keep the number of positive cases low on all three campuses. NeoHealth has also provided NSU with financial assistance totaling approximately $27,000, which supports scholarships, a veterans monument, and other basic needs.

• Connors State College and Green Country Behavioral Health Services, Inc.

Connors State College’s partnership with Green Country Behavioral Health Services, Inc. reflects the critical impact mental health can have on individuals’ ability to effectively engage with the world around them and contribute to the economic ecosystem . CSC recognizes the importance of trauma-informed advocacy and that the ability to provide rapid response to mental health issues promotes a better student experience, increases graduation rates and improves employment rates. The current program allows students to have direct access to mental health services through in-person appointments and virtual technology. Remote appointments are accessible via tablets provided by the organization. The partnership is also helping to reduce fear and uncertainty related to mental health treatment among the student population.

For more information about RBPEA and this year’s partnerships, visit www.okhighered.org/econ-dev/partner-excellence.