TCC Receives National Grant from U.S. Department of Labor

GREAT ANNOUNCEMENT: TCC announced that the U.S. Department of Labor will give the school a $1.74 million grant to address the current shortages of skilled Information Technology workers and anticipated baby boomer retirements of IT personnel negatively impacting the local and regional economy. At the announcement are, from left: Tulsa Metro Chamber President Mike Neal, Oklahoma Deptartment of Commerce Secretary Norma Noble, Cherokee Nation Educational Director Doyle Paden, Central Hub Data Center Director Wes Mitchell, TCC President and CEO Dr. Tom McKeon and Bank of Oklahoma Chief Technology Officer Don Parker.

GTR Newspapers photo

Tulsa Community College has received a $1.74 million national grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that is expected to address the current shortages of skilled Information Technology (IT) workers and anticipated baby boomer retirements of IT personnel negatively impacting the local and regional economy. The grant will provide free tuition, customized training, the creation of a regional IT skills center, and youth education.

TCC President and CEO Tom McKeon announced in late March that TCC is one of two sites in the state to receive grants through President Bush’s Community-Based Job Training Grants Initiative. The grant was written by TCC with the assistance of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Three local employers contributed to research for the grant citing significant IT personnel needs unmet by Tulsa’s current employee pool. Bank of Oklahoma, EDS and Cherokee Nation Enterprises have pointed to increased regulatory and security requirements that have placed increased demand for IT services on U.S. businesses.

“The number of qualified IT personnel in the Tulsa area and across the nation has dropped considerably in the past several years due to a downturn in the technology sector,” says McKeon. “However, the job demand is as strong or stronger than it has been in the past and this grant will allow TCC and Tulsa businesses to train new IT workers and create jobs for the future.”

In fall 2000, TCC had more than 4,500 enrollments in IT courses. By fall 2007, that number had dropped to 2,900 enrollments, McKeon says.

“The reality is that Tulsa businesses are recruiting IT professionals away from each other and the size of the pool of qualified personnel is not increasing,” says Don Parker, chief technology officer and executive vice president for Bank of Oklahoma, a grant participant. “This grant will go a long way toward helping employers train new professionals who can serve our growing IT business needs.”

EDS, a global technology services company with local offices, was also instrumental in developing the grant.

“Many of the individuals who know complex software programs that serve our industry are reaching retirement age,” says Wes Mitchell, director of Central Hub Data Center, EDS. “It is essential that we maintain and develop skilled professionals who can fill their shoes. This is really a critical issue for EDS as our business in Tulsa and throughout the world grows.”

“This is great news for the entire Tulsa metro area,” says Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor. “We have seen an increasing demand for IT professionals among employers both large and small in Tulsa. This grant will help fund training to provide qualified workers for these jobs. The funding is not only a great asset to employers, it will also help many Tulsans secure good-paying jobs and careers. Tulsa Community College is very responsive to the needs of this community, as seen with the Tulsa Achieves program, and this grant will enable them to do even more to serve both their students and the local employers who seek to hire them.”

The three-year grant will allow TCC to: provide tuition for new students and additional education for existing IT employees, create curriculum for high-demand IT programs, create a regional IT Skills Center, conduct summer academies for IT instructors and advisors, conduct regional Information Technology Summits, conduct jobs fairs, and provide contract training for 10-20 companies for incumbent worker training.

“The Tulsa Metro Chamber has been concerned about the current deficit of IT workers and the resulting impact on our ability to attract new companies and industry to Tulsa,” says Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. “We are fortunate TCC is the kind college capable and willing to identify and solve local employer needs.”

In addition to addressing current employer needs, the grant calls for addressing IT workforce solutions by reaching K-12 disadvantaged youth.

Grant partners include: The City of Tulsa; Workforce Tulsa, the local WIB; Oklahoma State Youth Council; Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development; Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education; Oklahoma State University-Stillwater and Okmulgee; Tulsa Technology Center; and the Tulsa Public School District.

For more information on how to benefit from the grant, Tulsans should contact the TCC Workforce Development Programs office at (918) 595-7976.

TCC is one of the most comprehensive community colleges in the nation and ranks 17th in the number of graduates in the nation. Serving 27,000 students annually in credit courses, TCC is the state’s largest two-year college with four campuses in the Tulsa area. For more information on TCC, visit

Updated 04-21-2008

Back to Top


Back to Top

Contact GTR News

About Post Author