The Pryor Times

February 27, 2014

MAIP pairs education with work

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — MidAmerica Industrial Park is changing the face of Pryor, according to Chief Administrative Officer David Stewart.

At their board meeting Tuesday, the park announced two new directives.

First, Stewart said, the park is in the midst of “expanding the park’s land base.”

The already 9,000-acre park is purchasing an additional 700 acres.

Stewart said the property is mostly west of Highway 69 and there are no definitive plans at this time.

“The property will be entered into our long-term master plan,” Stewart said.

As part of the recently-announced education initiative, pairing park businesses with educational facilities, MAIP has decided to create a state-of-the-art career center. The center will be a proposed partnership between Oklahoma State University Industrial and Technical school and Northeast Technology Center and will hopefully attract businesses looking for career-ready, trained employees.

Stewart described the center as a public-private partnership that will collaborate to provide training and opportunities.

“This will give residents the opportunity to find out about careers in the park and how to take advantage of them,” Stewart said.

An advisory council consisting of park members, educational entities and community organizations meets regularly to discuss this initiative, ensuring all parties’ input is presented.

“No matter what the model looks like, all the agencies have agreed to contribute their resources,” said Stewart.

He said the park works toward partnerships between the educational entities, rather than school rivalries.

“We all have one goal in mind, creating opportunities,” said Stewart, adding that whether businesses want higher education or technical training, the park has an educational opportunity between OSU-IT, NTC, and Rogers State University.

As further example of these partnerships, OSU-IT has announced the expansion of its machining courses. A curriculum that would segue into classes at RSU should the student want to go from a certification to an associate’s degree to a bachelor’s degree.

“We want residents to have everything they need to get the skill set for the job they want,” said Stewart.

The career center will be located in the existing Featherlite building.

Stewart said the project is in the infant stages, as all entities will have to map out a design plan for the building and the center. Once designs are complete, architectural plans will be made.

The cost, Stewart said, of creating the center both infrastructure and function, is “in the $7.5 million range.”