Innovative Partnership with Industry Provides Opportunity for Students

Innovative Partnership with Industry Provides Opportunity for Students

Students enrolled in Tulsa Tech’s Advanced Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining Program have a unique opportunity to gain employment with one of the nation’s leading oilfield service companies, thanks to an innovative partnership with the Baker Hughes Corporation.

Rick Huddleston, a CNC Machining Technology instructor at Tulsa Tech worked with other faculty members, students, and representatives from a Tulsa division of the company to help develop this pilot program.

“The program began about a year ago,” Huddleston said. “We began to discuss what a perfect industry relationship might look like; what type of program would meet the needs of the student along with the current needs of industry, and how could Tulsa Tech best facilitate these needs.”

The partnership involves a representative from Baker Hughes participating with students and assisting with the direction of the class four hours each week. This arrangement not only provides the company with first-hand knowledge of what’s being taught and a chance to have input about the curriculum, but also provides an opportunity for students to visit face-to-face with a potential employer.

“Baker Hughes might refer to their representative as a talent scout,” Huddleston said. “We refer to this position as an industry-to-education liaison. In addition to having the ability to assist with curriculum, he’s also able to answer questions from students and ask them specific questions about their professional goals.”

Thanks to a flexible work shift schedule developed by Baker Hughes, students often have the ability to be hired while they are still in the program. Tyler Keel, a 2011 graduate of Broken Arrow High School is one example of a student currently taking advantage of this distinctive program, attending class for half of the day followed by a work shift during the afternoon.

“I enjoy the challenge of CNC work,” Keel said. “I like the programming and everything involved in producing a finished part. Mr. Huddleston is probably the best instructor I’ve ever had, in any subject, he wants every student to succeed and thanks to Baker Hughes I have an immediate opportunity to do that.”

While some training organizations and schools are just starting to look at advanced credentials and third-party accreditations, Tulsa Tech’s CNC Machining Technology Program has the distinction of being the first CNC organization in the state to be listed nationally as National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certified. The program has been accredited for over six years, so it’s no surprise when Baker Hughes wanted to add a significant number of production employees they looked at Tulsa Tech’s quality of training.

“Baker Hughes has been a great partner in this venture and very upfront about what their goals are,” Huddleston said. “They’re looking at students who have passed two of the NIMS Certifications, along with a Career Readiness Certification, and maintained a 95 percent attendance rate. These are the students who really have an opportunity to go to work right now.”

Genna Clegg, a young mother and student in the program, looks forward to a rewarding career that will also provide her more time with her family.

“I’ve always enjoyed working in the shop and rebuilding an engine with my dad,” Clegg said. “So I was very interested when I saw an opportunity to change from working up to 70 hours a week in fast food, to doing something that really challenges me. When I watch the machine, knowing that I programmed a set of instructions that just produced that finished piece, it’s very rewarding.”

If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality business and industry training, or an opportunity to manufacture a new career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5000 or visit us online at

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