Higher Education Chancellor
Higher Education Chancellor Presents Plan to Meet Oklahoma’s Workforce Needs
TAHLEQUAH — Strengthening Oklahoma’s workforce pipeline continues to be a top priority of the state system of higher education.
That was the message delivered by Chancellor Allison D. Garrett as she presented the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s FY23 budget request and 2022 legislative agenda to an audience of lawmakers, community leaders and educators at Northeastern State University on Tuesday.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education are requesting $898 million for FY23, which reflects an increase of $85.2 million or 10.5% over the FY22 appropriation of $812.8 million.
“Our State Regents recognize the significant workforce needs of our state and are seeking additional investment in healthcare, technology, engineering and teacher education initiatives,” Garrett said. “The majority of the ‘100 Critical Occupations’ identified by Oklahoma Works as vital to our state’s economic growth - and each of the 10 highest-paying critical occupations - require a postsecondary degree. Clearly, public higher education plays a pivotal role in workforce and economic development.”
The State Regents are requesting $40 million for critical workforce development initiatives, including funds to help meet engineering, nursing, and teacher education workforce needs, increase physician residency capacity in the state, fund pre-collegiate STEM Summer Academies, and provide scholarships for adult students returning to complete their college degree or earn an industry-recognized micro-credential or certificate. Requests to fully fund the concurrent enrollment program for high school seniors and juniors ($4 million) and increase investments in need-based financial aid and scholarship programs ($6.85 million) are also priorities.
The State Regents are also requesting $34.3 million for system operations, including campus operational support needs; deferred maintenance for campus infrastructure and the Section 13 Offset program; shared services and resources for strengthening the quality and experience of online education; and innovation, collaboration and efficiency incentive grants.
NSU President Steve Turner said he enjoyed the optimism in the new chancellor’s presentation, adding he thinks it was well received by those in attendance because it struck a chord with everyone.
“Higher education plays an important role in addressing workforce needs in the state,” Turner said. “That is why NSU remains committed to support efforts to increase degree attainment and access to needed training of in-demand skills to help meet the workforce needs of our students and community partners.”