Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology Program Pairs Students with Companies

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology Program Pairs Students with Companies

Article excerpt

Cornell Cross II is learning how a good reputation can precede him.

Cross, associate director of programs for the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology's Tulsa office, said the center's success placing college interns with companies is attracting attention in northeast Oklahoma.

"People are coming to OCAST," Cross said. "Word is out about OCAST as they see how we can be a partner, putting companies and universities together."

The program's objective is to train students, said Kinnee Tilly, senior vice president of economic development for the Broken Arrow Economic Development Corp.

"Developing a skilled workforce is one of the greatest challenges we have right now," Tilly said. "So, for a program that specifically targets the companies that need the skilled workforce to the students within the universities that need the real-world experience, this a win-win."

The Intern Partnerships program connects college students and faculty members with scientific and technical businesses making advancements in energy, chemistry, the environment and national defense, Cross said.

Ron Burden, president of Tulsa-based Bennett Engineering Inc., said the company has benefited from the OCAST model.

"We are a consulting engineering company and we have seen our clients take advantage of the internships," Bennett said. "It has been tremendously beneficial. They get a good employee, while the student gains real-world experience."

The program is designed to assist in job creation and advance student skill sets, Cross said.

"Many of the college students who participate in the program become employees of the small businesses that sponsor them," Cross said.

The goal is keeping the state's best and brightest students in the state after graduation, Tilly said.

"The company gets the advantage of having a qualified student within its doors as an intern, while the student is able to learn from the company and then give back to the company," Tilly said. …

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