Seaboard Foods and Oklahoma Panhandle State received the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education's Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award for their collaboration to improve workforce development. The award recognizes successful partnerships between higher education institutions, businesses and the community to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents' Economic Development Grants.
State Regents' Chair Michael C. Turpen, State Regent Courtney Warmington, State Regent Steven W. Taylor and Chancellor Allison D. Garrett participated in a ceremony, held April 27 at the University of Central Oklahoma. Davida Gomez, Seaboard Foods community enrichment specialist; Tré Smith, Seaboard Foods communications trainee; Natasha Eidson, OPSU director of communications; and Ryan Blanton, Ph.D., OPSU vice president of advancement; received the award.
"Our colleges and universities continue collaborating successfully with public, private and nonprofit partners to strengthen economic and workforce development across Oklahoma," said Garrett. "Producing more workforce-ready graduates by increasing communication with employers and connecting students to the workforce sooner is a fundamental goal of Blueprint 2030, the State Regents' new strategic plan for public higher education. We are proud to recognize these partnerships and their positive impact on Oklahoma businesses and communities."
Seaboard Foods and Oklahoma Panhandle State were among 27 business and higher education partnerships recognized.
OPSU President Julie Dinger, Ph.D, commented, "We at OPSU are grateful to our friends at Seaboard Foods, our Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award recipient this year. We thank them for all they do to support the Aggie Nation every day."
OPSU, located in Goodwell, Oklahoma, and Seaboard Foods, with operations in the Oklahoma Panhandle, have worked together for more than 25 years to improve workforce development. Seaboard Foods is dedicated to serving the local community by supporting charities and organizations and providing academic resources to OPSU. Seaboard Foods plays an important role in the education of students in the university's agriculture and business programs by offering internships, tours, work opportunities and recruiting at college fairs. The company's "Winternship" Program gives students a hands-on experience in the industry and provides networking opportunities with company experts. Many OPSU students secure management-level positions at Seaboard Foods before graduation.
"We have focused on growing deep relationships in the places we call home. With both our pork processing plant and farm operations located in the Oklahoma Panhandle, we have proudly taken an active role in supporting Oklahoma Panhandle State University," said Gomez. "Strong educational systems build a strong community and we're proud to invest in OPSU and its students."