OSU-Okmulgee Preparing Students For Stimulus Jobs

Friday, February 27th 2009, 10:12 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

OKMULGEE, OK -- The stimulus package includes billions of dollars for construction and health care, and an area college wants to have workers ready when those projects get up and running.

After being laid off from their jobs at a glass plant in Tulsa, Kyle Atwell and T.J. Evans decided to go back to school at OSU-Okmulgee.

"Going into school for me was something I could get back up to making what I needed to make to support my family," Evans said.

"Coming here to this program was probably the best decision I have made," Atwell said. "I've broadened by horizons, to say the least."

President Obama's economic stimulus plan is intended to help laidoff workers like Atwell and Evans.

OSU-Okmulgee is adding courses and faculty in its construction technology and health care programs, which are fields expected to benefit from the stimulus.

"Particularly as it relates to infrastructure and energy improvement, and those kinds of activities that are going to get some funding in the stimulus package," said Bob Klabenes, OSU-Okmulgee president.

The school wants to make sure there are enough specially trained graduates to meet industry needs in areas where the economy rebounds.

"We're looking at all these programs where there is opportunity for growth and another one we're looking at because it is part of the stimulus package is health, and expanding our health education program," Klabenes said.

A new health education center will enable the school to triple the number of students in the registered nursing program.

Atwell and Evans hope their education puts them in a good position if and when the billions of dollars help turn the economy around.

"I hope it impacts me," Evans said. "I hope it impacts everybody for the better."

Part of the economic stimulus will enable more people to go to college, with $15 billion in stimulus money will be used to increase Pell Grants.

Nationwide, 7 million students will get an additional $500 of aid.