ENID, Okla. — Enid Regional Development Alliance is one of five state organizations to receive an Impact Partnership Grant for investment in workforce growth.

The Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development and the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development awarded the grants. Impact Partnerships promote high-demand occupations in Oklahoma and strive to build lasting, collaborative relationships between business, education, workforce development, economic development and government and community organizations, according to organizers.

OOWD awarded the five applicants up to $175,000 to invest in their industry-led, collaborative community projects. A total of $1 million in funding will be allocated to the awardees, extension projects and Regional Workforce Boards.

ERDA indicated it will use the money to boost the aerospace industry.

ERDA will use the grant to promote careers in aerospace, including maintenance and repair and pilots, as well as developing a pipeline for existing aviation support careers. Grant organizers say the aerospace industry is the second-largest and fastest growing industry sector in the state.

“The best grant opportunities come when they align with something you are already doing,” said Lisa Powell, ERDA executive director. “This opportunity is to create a training pipeline beginning with our youth all the way through adults to support the aviation industry, while we are trying to grow more aviation-related businesses at our airport. It all works really well together for Enid.”

Powell said Enid is an aviation town, with Vance Air Force Base and the deep roots and investments out at Enid Woodring Regional Airport. Now, with new public school aviation education programs beginning in the fall, with another local nonprofit providing after-school activities for youth interested in aviation and possible flight school opportunities coming up at Woodring.

“There are these little pockets of effort bubbling up and these efforts intersect with our economic development focus of locating and expanding the number of aviation businesses that go into the industrial park at Woodring. We also received a grant from the Department of Commerce to do some planning for the industrial park.”

Other grant recipients are:

• Oklahoma Rural Water Association. ORWA represents 352-member utility system/partners across the state. ORWA plans to work with education and community partners to create a sustainable workforce for the essential water sector for Oklahoma.

• The STEAM Engine, a collaborative of companies in the areas of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC). The Steam Engine includes industry leaders ADG, Blatt Architects, CMS Willowbrook, Guernsey and J.E. Dunn, and looks to build a cohesive AEC system that taps into the resources of the community and its partners to create a thriving AEC workforce.

• Broken Arrow Economic Development Corporation. As a STEM Workforce Center of Excellence, BAEDC plans use the grant to create a system for STEM education, training and career pathways. The mission is to connect talent with education partners and businesses in engineering.

• Southern Workforce Board. SWB is a consortium between the Southern Workforce Board, Murray State College and the Executive Committee of JBAMM (Johnston, Bryan, Atoka, Marshall and Murray County regions) with additional resources from local chambers, education partners and community partners. SWB will use the grant to create a health care sector partnership. This will aid in building a talent pipeline for future and current demand in the health are industry.

Additionally, the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development has offered the qualifying awardees from last year a $50,000 extension to continue their work this fiscal year.

“The purpose of Impact Partnership Grants is to connect business and industry with workforce services through local collaboration and leadership,” said Don Morris, Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development executive director.

“The application process was a road map for success, and the five awardees are on their way to making a lasting difference for Oklahoma’s workforce.”

Enid News & Eagle – 8.5.22