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TCC to receive $3 million to launch AEP Foundation’s Credits Count program

by on February 11, 2015
Stuart Solomon (center), Public Service Company of Oklahoma president and chief operating officer, celebrates the Credits Count grant from the AEP Foundation with officials -- including Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (front row, second from left) and TCC President and CEO Leigh B. Goodson (front row, fourth from left)  -- and students at a media event Feb. 9 in Tulsa, Okla.

Stuart Solomon (center), Public Service Company of Oklahoma president and chief operating officer, celebrates the Credits Count grant from the AEP Foundation with officials — including Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (front row, second from left) and TCC President and CEO Leigh B. Goodson (front row, fourth from left) — and students Feb. 9 in Tulsa, Okla.

(Story by Stan Whiteford)

The AEP Foundation will partner with Tulsa Community College (TCC) and the TCC Foundation to provide $3 million over five years to launch the Credits Countsm program, benefiting high school and middle school students in Tulsa Public Schools (TPS).

The announcement of the program, which focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), was made Feb. 9 during a special ceremony at Tulsa’s Will Rogers College High that was attended by local and state officials, including Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

Credits Count, a signature program of the AEP Foundation, will begin at Will Rogers College High School and expand to three additional Tulsa public high schools and include the middle schools that feed into them.  TCC will work with students and their families to explore STEM fields, introducing students to careers they otherwise may never have considered as career options.  Along the way, Credits Count will help students fill in learning gaps, so they are ready to study college-level courses while still in high school. By graduation, students will have earned credits that count toward a certificate in a STEM-related career or a college degree in fields that include engineering, biotechnology and information technology.

“I am very pleased to announce this innovative partnership between the AEP Foundation, TCC, and TPS to benefit students and their families in PSO’s headquarters city,” said Stuart Solomon, president and chief operating officer of Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO). “The Credits Count program is the largest gift that the AEP Foundation has ever made in the state of Oklahoma. This gift will help our students pursue STEM-related careers and college studies, and become the next generation of critical thinkers who will find solutions to complex challenges for businesses and communities.”

The four major components of the Credits Count program include:

  • Dual Enrollment in High Schools and at TCC – allowing students to graduate high school with at least 12 college credits toward an associate degree or job ready certificate;
  • STEM Experiences – expanding awareness at an early age of possible STEM careers through middle and high school exploration experiences;
  • College Course Readiness Assessments – identifying gaps in writing, reading and math that may require tutoring;
  • Summer Bridge Programs – providing remediation in English and math and improving skills prior to students’ participation in dual enrollment programs.

 

“This partnership will help with the STEM pipeline from middle school through the completion of a college degree. TCC, through its Tulsa Achieves program as well as EXCELerate, has a powerful model on providing access to higher education,” said TCC President and CEO Leigh B. Goodson, Ph.D.  “Credits Count is designed to reach an urban, low income and diverse population by removing barriers so we can develop a competitive, educated and robust STEM-focused work force.”

TCC will facilitate the dual enrollment program in cooperation with Tulsa Public Schools. The program will reach nearly 1,000 students to assess college readiness. About 800 students will participate in the Summer Bridge program to improve math, science and English skills. About 3,000 middle school students will participate in a summer STEM college experience and up to 800 students will receive for-credit college-level course work, while completing high school.

Fallin expressed her appreciation for the leadership of all the partners involved, and added that initiatives like Credits Count will help set a standard for others to follow.

“One of the things that Oklahoma has to do to continue to grow our economy and create good career opportunities for our citizens is to increase educational attainment,” said Fallin. “Our businesses need a skilled, technically proficient work force, and that means producing more STEM graduates. The great work being done on that front by the AEP Foundation, the TCC Foundation and Tulsa Public Schools is a model I hope we can replicate across the state.”

TCC is the third college to receive funding from the AEP Foundation for a Credits Count program. The first two were Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio, and Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City, Louisiana.

“The Credits Count grant represents a significant financial investment in the Tulsa community,” said Lauren Brookey, TCC Vice President of External Affairs. AEP and its local subsidiary PSO are terrific corporate partners that will help shape the future of Tulsa students and their education.”

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