The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 3, 2013

Autry Technology Center gets top billing in Oklahoma

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Autry Technology Center earned top billing on the newly released Journal Record list of technology centers in Oklahoma.

The school’s 38,084 enrollment during 2011-2012 is what brought home the top honor. The biggest share of that enrollment — 35,022 students — were enrolled as business and industry students.

Melissa Jenlink, director of communications and marketing at Autry, said the technology center has partnered with businesses and industries in the region to offer classes ranging from short-term courses on how to repair machines employees use on the job, to long-term training. Courses can be as brief as one hour or as lengthy as 600 hours, Jenlink said.

“Through business partnerships and advisory councils, Autry’s Business and Industry Services team customizes training initiatives that lead to positive business results and progress for area companies, ranging from the small family owned operations to large corporations,” Jenlink said.

Examples include computer and technology solutions; customized industry training; safety, environment and technical; training for industry program, quality management systems; organizational and management development; business and team development; small business management; and strategic planning.

“GEFCO is one of our larger business clients and have offered 112 different classes in safety, management, lean manufacturing and more for their employees in the last year,” Jenlink said.

The Journal Record included several factors taken to compile the list ranking. Aside from enrollment, the list compares fiscal year 2012 budget, adult tuition cost per class hour, the number of faculty and other employees and job placement results.

Autry’s placement rate is 95 percent. “Placement” is when the student completes a courses and enters his or her career field, goes to the military or goes on to further education.

Among Oklahoma’s 29 technology centers, Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee, Northwest Technology Center in Alva, Mid-Del Technology Center in Midwest City and Tri County Technology Center in Bartlesville have higher placement rates, but their enrollment numbers are smaller, ranging from 6,324 to 13,362.

Autry was able to compete with the metropolitan technology centers thanks to the relationships within the community, with its 10 partner schools and local businesses and industry, Jenlink said.

“This is a huge statement on how successful partnerships can be with your local industry,” said Jim Strate, Autry superintendent. “We rely heavily on our Executive Leadership Council and Advisory Committee members to guide us along the way.”

The James W. Strate Center for Business Development at Autry also garnered a mention in the Journal Record’s Book of Lists. Business incubators in the state were listed alphabetically, not ranked.

The center offers incubation services including management guidance, technical assistance and consulting tailored to young, growing companies. Incubator clients have access to infrastructure needs such as high-quality office, lab and manufacturing space, meeting rooms, high-quality printing capabilities and shared business resources. The incubator provides them a physical address.

Adventures with Travis & Presley, Fuel Conversion Solutions OK, Over the Fence Farms, Privation Printing, Aspire Oklahoma and Tres Sucre Chocolatiere are current clients at the Center for Business Development.