Huckeby, the chairman of Oklahoma Independent Colleges and Universities, said that makes the institutions an important part of Oklahoma's higher education landscape.
“We are dedicated to being good partners and collaborating with the public institutions and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education,” Huckeby said. “We feel like this has great potential for the future.”
The state's degree completion efforts are a part of Complete College America, a nationwide initiative to boost the number of Americans with college degrees or industry certificates.
Sen. Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater, said that effort is critical to the state's economic future.
Last July, Belgian aerospace firm ASCO Industries announced plans to open a factory in the former Mercury Marine plant in Stillwater.
That news was welcome, Halligan said, but it highlights the importance of producing enough qualified engineers, technicians and others to keep up with industry demands.
In order to meet those goals, the state will need full cooperation not only from its public colleges and universities, but also from private institutions, Halligan said.
“This is going to be a time of testing for Oklahoma,” Halligan said.
“We have an enormous challenge.”