Partnership promotes energy jobs in Oklahoma


This week was Careers in Energy Week as Oklahoma Gas and Electric and Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City joined efforts to encourage job seekers to explore energy work as a career path.

Specifically, those taking part in the job-seeking were encouraged to consider employment from chemical and electrical engineering to oil rig and electric utility line work.

The long-standing partnership between Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC) and Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) has energized the industry by providing education to 145 energy professionals since 2005 according to an announcement by the two partners.

Location | Oklahoma State University

For more than two decades, OG&E has partnered with OSU-OKC to facilitate career pathways for students interested in joining the high-voltage transmission field. The Power Line Program is a collaborative initiative between the utility and the university’s student recruitment services that ensures students receive a high-quality, hands-on education that fully prepares them for a career in energy. From cultivation of industry skills to offering internships and eventually jobs to students, the partnership’s impact on Oklahoma’s energy workforce is profound and far-reaching. 

“The high-voltage transmission industry is incredibly specialized. With the state’s ongoing energy workforce need, it is more imperative than ever to hire capable candidates that can expertly perform these critical duties,” said Dr. Scott Newman, President of OSU-OKC. “OG&E’s collaboration with and support of OSU-OKC fulfills this need and plays a critical role in preparing students for careers in the industry. It’s gratifying to work with partners who understand their essential roles in fostering the next generation of talent.” 

Dr. Scott Newman end-of-semester video message | Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma  City

In addition to workforce development, OG&E supports OSU-OKC’s Power Transmission and Distribution Technology program in several other ways. The utility donates resources and instructional equipment to enhance interactive, technical learning, and Mike Eckart, OG&E supervisor of technical learning operations, has taught at the university as an adjunct professor for over 17 years. The organization also provides deserving STEM students and aspiring energy industry leaders with scholarships and financial aid.  

In March of 2022, the ongoing partnership between OSU-OKC and OG&E was recognized through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award for exemplifying how businesses and educational institutions can work together for long–term benefit. 

“The energy industry offers many diverse career pathways, and it’s important that youth are made aware of all the opportunities available to them. It’s even more important that they are given the best education possible to achieve their goals,” said Mark Silvers, OG&E director of learning and workforce development. “It’s great to see students pursue a career in such a critical field, and OG&E is honored to provide the tools necessary for them to succeed. Our partnership with OSU-OKC is just one example of how we energize Oklahoma’s future energy workforce.” 

Resilience Relies on Workforce Development | T&D World

OG&E’s dedication to energy education expands beyond its partnership with OSU-OKC. Employees mentor students in the Cyber Security and Network Defense Program and the Computer Science Academy at the Francis Tuttle Technology Center, providing guidance on how to solve real-world issues and offering invaluable career advice. The local electric company is also a Distinguished Employer Partner with Langston University, the only historically black college or university (HBCU) in the state of Oklahoma, and provides internship to students from the university’s Electronics Technology and Computer Drafting Design Technology programs. OG&E also partners with organizations like Northwest Lineman College, Cherokee Nation and OG&E’s Women in Science group to help improve diversification in the industry. 

As a leading member of the Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortia (OEWC), a partnership of Oklahoma energy companies, and the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), a nonprofit consortium comprised of over 120 like-minded associations, unions and government partnerships, OG&E collaborates with other organizations in the state to ensure a skilled, diverse and steady workforce pipeline in the energy industry. 

Source: press release