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University of Oklahoma to establish polytechnic institute in Tulsa

NORMAN — With growing business interest in the upstate, the University of Oklahoma is planning a new school of technology in Tulsa to meet labor demand.

The OU Polytechnic Institute would operate on the OU-Tulsa campus, pending approval next month from the OU Board of Regents and later Oklahoma State Regents for the ‘Higher Education.

OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. announced the launch at a Friday meeting of university regents in Norman. The opening date of the institute has not been determined.

Harroz said OU Polytechnic will focus on high-demand careers and advanced technologies, such as software engineering, electric vehicles, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing and telehealth.

The available workforce in Oklahoma is desperately insufficient in these areas, he said. This is evident even on OU campuses, Harroz said, where cybersecurity job openings are hard to fill.

“When you look across the landscape, it’s not just about projecting into the future what the needs are,” Harroz said. “We don’t even have enough to meet the needs of the businesses that we have right now, but the schools that did have well become magnets for those businesses to come to the state.

The University of Oklahoma on Friday announced plans for a new polytechnic institute in Tulsa to provide more graduates in applied technology careers.

The institute would serve students in the final two years of their undergraduate degree and offer master’s and doctoral degrees.

The move could create a bigger foothold for OU in northeast Oklahoma, where university leaders seek a bigger presence and a clearer identity.

It was “simply negligent” for the OU not to have these courses available in Tulsa, said Frank Keating, chairman of the OU regents, former governor and Tulsa native.

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