WASHINGTON, D.C. and DURANT, Okla. – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1 million grant to Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma, to create an Aerospace Technology Center at the Durant Regional Airport.
This grant will create a training center to boost the region’s aerospace workforce by enhancing existing training, implementing new programs, and developing local partnerships. This EDA investment, to be matched with $589,000 in local funds, is expected to create 213 jobs and generate $8.7 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.
“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is creating new opportunities for American workers across the country,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment in Southeastern Oklahoma State University will help the region’s aviation and aerospace workforce soar by preparing workers for a wide range of careers in the aerospace industry.”
“Southeastern is excited for the new opportunities this grant brings to our university and our partners, as this will enhance our ability to offer programs that serve the future economic needs in the aerospace field,” Southeastern President Dr. Thomas W. Newsom noted. “Our university’s history of education in aviation has established a strong reputation for creating leaders in aerospace fields, and we look forward to continuing and expanding a legacy of excellence thanks in part to this grant.”
“The Economic Development Administration works closely with communities to develop place-based economic development,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This project will provide new capacity for career preparation in aviation and aerospace, increase access to skills training for underserved individuals, and build a pipeline of skilled workers for regional employers, strengthening the regional economy.”
“This is great news for Southeastern and the entire Texoma region and we’d like to thank the EDA for their confidence and belief in our university and its mission,” said Mike Gaffney, director of the Aviation Sciences Institute at Southeastern. “We’ve been focused on advanced technologies and collaboration with the National Science Foundation, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and other organizations. This modernization is a project that puts us right in the focus of what’s coming in the future and our collaborative efforts will pay off for so many future students, as well as businesses in our state and our region.”
Southeastern will immediately start a fundraising campaign to raise additional funds for continued enhancement of the Aerospace Technology Center. Those wishing to donate to the campaign should contact the Southeastern Foundation at 580-745-2361 or visit www.SE.edu/giving.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
Founded in 1909, Southeastern Oklahoma State University provides an environment of academic excellence that enables students to reach their highest potential. By having personal access to excellent teaching, challenging academic programs, and extracurricular experiences, students will develop skills and habits that promote values for career preparation, responsible citizenship, and lifelong learning. Our over 5,000 students include 50% first-generation students and 28% students of Native American descent, with 82% receiving financial aid. Southeastern ranks amongst the most affordable schools in the region thanks to out-of-state tuition waivers, and is proud of its exceptional affordable accredited MBA program, stellar aviation program, and outstanding national ranking in graduating Native American students.