March 16, 2005
Cowley technical students take opportunity to visit with prospective employers
Brandon Coulston, left, a first-year Welding Technology student, talks with Dr. Tom Baldwin, dean of technology at Pittsburg State University, during the annual Industrial Technology Job Fair held Wednesday at Cowley.
The Earle N. Wright Community Room at Cowley College wasn’t full Wednesday morning, but the employers and recruiters on campus for the annual Industrial Technology Job Fair were excited about talking to students.
First- and second-year students in Cowley’s Industrial Technology programs, namely Automotive, Welding, Machine Tool, Drafting and Non-Destructive Testing, were given the opportunity to visit with prospective employers and two recruiters during the two-hour fair.
Randy Perry, a recruiter in the engineering workforce administration area of Boeing, said that even though the company was in transition, having recently been purchased by Onex, he was looking for new employees.
“I’m always looking for computer-aided design (drafting) students,” said Perry, who has been with Boeing for 27 years. “There’s a definite market for those folks.”
Typically, Cowley Drafting Technology instructor Cliff Roderick places at least one student into a summer internship at Boeing. Perry said he’s been pleased with students from Cowley.
He also said that Boeing’s sale to Onex would present new opportunities.
“I see the future as being very bright,” he said. “There are opportunities that we haven’t pursued on the commercial side, and the military side has a lot of programs of their own.”
Dr. Tom Baldwin, dean of the college of technology at Pittsburg State University, promoted a transfer agreement during the Job Fair.
“A graduate of Cowley and a graduate of PSU has established a scholarship that allows a student to get a two-year associate’s degree, transfer to Pittsburg State, and get out in two years with a bachelor’s of applied science,” Baldwin said.
Marvin McCorgary, a 1960 graduate of Cowley, and his wife Anita recently established a $10,000 scholarship to Cowley that will be matched by federal Title III funds. It is designated to a graduate of Arkansas City High School. The recipient also must be enrolled at Cowley full time (12 or more credit hours), be working toward a degree in Industrial Trade and Supervision Management, and must demonstrate financial need. Preference will be given to a student planning to transfer from Cowley to PSU.
“This is the first full year we’ve had this agreement in place for transfer students,” Baldwin said. “Before, when we’d try to fit them into our program, students would end up with an extra half year or year to get them a bachelor’s degree. This is a much better situation.”
McCorgary sits on Baldwin’s advisory council at PSU.
Besides Boeing and Pittsburg State, companies attending the Job Fair were BAE Systems of Wellington, Raytheon and Fiore Tech Services. A representative from the U.S. Army also attended.
Fiore Tech Services, also known as FTS, hires many inspectors who have a non-destructive testing background. Bruce Hollis, project manager, said the Ponca City company has hired several students from Bruce Crouse’s NDT program at Cowley.
“We’ve had good success hiring graduates from here,” Hollis said.
FTS, which also has an office in Bartlesville, Okla., conducts inspections in the petroleum-chemical industry. Conoco-Phillips is one of its biggest clients, Hollis said.
When a person is hired by FTS after earning a two-year associate of applied science degree, they go through a three-year internship with the company. Once completed, the intern can then take an exam to become certified.
“We work at a lot of refineries and gas plants,” Hollis said. “We’re growing fast. Depending on the person’s willingness to travel, they can make good money.”
People with an AAS degree generally start out at $12 per hour at FTS, Hollis said. The salary increases after a year, and a person can see a significant bump in salary after three years.
“We have some examiners making six digits,” Hollis said.
Crouse, chairman of Cowley’s Industrial Technology Department, said the Job Fair was beneficial to students, prospective employers, and to the college’s programs.
“It allows industry to visit with and interview students,” he said. “It also allows first-year students a chance to see what next year might bring. It allows students the chance to visit with different areas of manufacturing.”
Crouse said around 12-18 students graduate from each of the college’s technical programs annually.