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East Central University was among 21 institutions throughout the state recently recognized for their outstanding partnerships with community businesses.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education's Economic Development Grant for the Partnership Recognition Program is designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents' Economic Development Grants.

A staunch supporter of both higher education and economic development, the Tri-County has become a true partner of ECU. Tri-County Executive Director Amy Childers Elliott supports and assists ECU with grant applications. Whether the applications are for joint grants or solely for ECU, she helps generate ideas and opportunities, teaches grant writing classes for ECU's continuing education program and supports development in a broad spectrum of areas.

"If we're to improve Oklahoma's future, we need creative collaborations like this program," said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. "The partnership between business and higher education benefits us three-fold: Businesses retain employees, employees improve their education and the immediate needs of the business community are being addressed."

Institutions involved in these partnerships provide $500 for tuition waivers to employees of the partnering businesses, internships for current students of the institutions to work at the partnering businesses or faculty externships with the partnering businesses. The State Regents provide a $500 match to the waivers.

The Partnership Recognition Program is an annual event. For more information,

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