Facebook Twitter K1-TEXT Email Print


Local News

Posted: Jul 10, 2020 2:06 PMUpdated: Jul 10, 2020 3:26 PM

Tri County Tech to Receive $1M in CARES Act Funds

Share on RSS


Garrett Giles

Governor Kevin Stitt announced on Friday that a $1 million grant through the CARES Act Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund will go to Tri County Tech of Bartlesville to launch its Skills to Rebuild initiative in partnership with several local employers.

Tri County Tech’s Skills to Rebuild initiative will provide accelerated programs to train 375 individuals to immediately enter well-paying jobs that are in high demand in the region, generating an annual payroll of $10 million in Oklahoma’s private sector. The CARES Act grant will allow for Tri County Tech to make these programs tuition free for students who complete the programs.

Lindel Fields, Tri County Tech's CEO and Superintendent, said there is a significant need for frontline healthcare workers. He said they have looked at the community, they know what the need is, and this grant is going to help prepare those frontline workers who will also get into the pipeline to become practical nurses and eventually RN's.

Over time, this effort will expand out into their technical programs, welding programs, and their machining programs.  As businesses come back online, Fields said businesses are going to need skilled labor to get the product out the door. He said Tri County Tech is prepared to train that labor to ensure that those businesses can stay up and running.

“A new and emerging workforce must be upskilled and trained to move the needle on Oklahoma’s 12-percent unemployment rate, and it is incumbent upon education in Oklahoma to innovate and respond quickly,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “Tri County Tech is breaking the mold of continuing education by offering several accelerated courses targeted for industries where there is known demand and ample opportunity for career growth.”

It only took a month for Tri County Tech to dream and present the Skills to Rebuild initiative to the state and to Gov. Stitt. Fields said the effort moved really fast, and they are happy about it. He said TCT has classes starting in just a few weeks for these students. As Fields said, Gov. Stitt and the State of Oklahoma worked well with Tri County to get the initiative up and running in time to get the programs full of students.

Tri County Tech’s Skills to Rebuild program will get students into the workforce in as little as 2 months by offering accelerated certifications in the areas of accounting, health care, nursing, child development, computer networking/cybersecurity, and manufacturing. Skills to Rebuild is unique in that it shortens the traditional time it takes for a student to complete these programs by an average of 20-percent while maintaining high educational standards for certifications and graduation. Furthermore, most courses will be offered virtually and on evenings and weekends to accommodate working students.

In a statement, Fields said: “Unemployment is not a sustainable economic solution. Oklahomans want and need to get back to work and Tri County’s Skills to Rebuild is here to help. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unstable and uncertain economic environment, but Skills to Rebuild is the solution to train Oklahomans for re-entering the workforce with gratifying, upwardly mobile careers in a rapid amount of time.”

Due to the deep recession caused by the pandemic, national economists have predicted many jobs will disappear for a long period of time or all together. The silver lining is that there are many established and emerging industries in desperate need of workers. For example, in Tri County’s district that serves Washington, Nowata, and Osage counties, Tri County Tech has identified a need for over 200 frontline nurse assistants and 60 LPNs.

“The Tri County Tech’s Skills to Rebuild project is an innovative educational initiative for essential workers on the frontlines of caring for Oklahomans. Ascension St. John Jane Phillips will be taking full advantage of these quality training opportunities,” said Mike Moore, president and COO of Ascension St. John Jane Phillips. “The accessibility and flexibility of these certified courses allow the underemployed and unemployed to immediately gain the skills needed to influence their lives, businesses, and the economy in Oklahoma.”

The program is open to Oklahoma residents with the first round of classes slated to begin in August. For more information visit: tricountytech.edu/skills.

Tri County Tech, a 2018 Malcolm Baldrige Recipient, has one of the highest completion rates in the nation at 95-precent. Over the past 10 years, Tri County Tech has seen a 117-percent increase in students enrolling, with 67-percent going on to earn additional or higher levels of certifications and degrees.

Fields said it is a big day for Tri County Tech, but it is a bigger day for the community, and an even bigger day for the 375 individuals that may go from making eight-dollars an hour to 15-dollars an hour. He said that can be life changing for someone, especially since it is tuition free.

Tri County Tech's classes begin on Monday, Aug. 13th. 

« Back to News