Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition to present free Career Pathways Initiative

The Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition (SOIC) will launch Lawton Fort Sill’s Career Pathways Initiative with “Thriving in Challenging Times: Connecting Education to Economic Development” on Friday, June 10. The event will feature two tracks – one for education professionals and one for the general public – and will take place in the McMahon Centennial Complex on the Cameron University campus. There is no charge to attend, although advance registration is requested by calling 405-274-9135 or emailing

Lawton Public Schools, the Lawton Fort Sill Economic Development Corporation, the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Southwest Oklahoma are partners in the initiative.

“A ‘career pathway’ is a culture shift that provides students a chance to obtain the education and credentials they need to be career-ready and successful in jobs that support local workforce needs in both business and industry,” says Marilyn Feaver, Executive Director, SOIC. “Our presentation is geared to help educators, business professionals and community members better understand the tie between education and economic development.”

Registration for the event opens at 7:45 a.m.  Ryan Posey, President, HSI Sensing and Oklahoma Works and a well-known economic champion for this region, will open the conference. Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Education Joy Hofmeister will share her vision for solving the state’s workforce and education challenges in her keynote address. Tandy Banks, a senior applications engineer for Go Engineer, will round out the opening session as he recounts his journey through diverse careers.

At that point, the event will diverge, with a morning track for community and business leaders, and an all-day track for career educators.

The business and professional track starts with a call to action by Dr. Sherry Labyer, Executive Director of the Office for Educational Quality and Accountability, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Jeannie Bowden, a business and industry specialist for the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation. The panel will focus on the importance of STEM education, effective use of internships in the workplace, Lawton’s role in educating workers, and legislation affecting internships and apprenticeships. Guest speakers include Rep. John Montgomery; Liz Day, Human Resources Manager, Arvest Bank; and Lawton Public Schools administrators Lance Gibbs and Mark Mattingly. LPS superintendent Tom Deighan will deliver closing comments for the business and professional track.

Education professionals will tour Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Silver Line Plastics and Republic Paperboard Company before engaging in a pair of panel presentations. The first focuses on fostering and encouraging students in STEM careers and features electrical engineer Jesse Daniels and environmental manager Jordon Kenworthy, both with Georgia-Pacific, and Goodyear mechanical engineer Andrew Henderson.

The education track wraps up with a panel discussion, “Building Partnerships – The Potential and Collective Impact of Business and Education Alignment.” Participants include Labyer; Brian Holmes, Human Resources Manager, Goodyear; Lisa McGregor, President, Republic Paperboard; Taylor Farmer, Human Resources Director, Comanche County Memorial Hospital; and Nathan Slate, Site Manager, Northrop Grumman Corp.

SOIC is a regional organization that seeks to reinforce and grow wealth in 20 counties in Southwest Oklahoma by maximizing and coordinating workforce and economic development opportunities through collaboration. Founding partners include the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments, Cameron University, Redlands Community College, the Southwestern Oklahoma Development Authority, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and Western Oklahoma State College.  Additional partners are the Caddo-Kiowa, Canadian Valley, Great Plains, Red River, Southwest and Western technology centers.



May 27, 2016