The newest building on the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology campus looks more like a series of repair shops than classrooms.
In each room are lines of tractors, compressors and engines. Instead of the names of past educators on the walls, the rooms are named after industrial giants such as Devon Energy, Koch Industries and Williams Cos.
This is the new Chesapeake Energy Center at the OSUIT Okmulgee campus and a symbol of the changing face of education in Oklahoma.
Across the state, some higher education institutions are trying to adjust their academic focus to serve the growing demand for high-skilled workers in areas such as energy, manufacturing, medicine and aerospace.
As employers in Oklahoma and the United States scramble to find employees in what has been deemed as a “skills gap,” the state’s higher education institutions are delivering a new generation of vocational education, focused on high-skill, high-paying jobs in a changing economy.
In the Chesapeake building, students and industry veterans alike train on real-world equipment, learning the ins and outs of how it works while studying the physics and engineering behind the equipment.