TCC Receives $3 Million for Credits Count Program

February 9, 2015

The American Electric Power Foundation will partner with Tulsa Community College (TCC) and the TCC Foundation to provide $3 million over five years to launch the Credits Counts program, benefiting high school and middle school students in Tulsa Public Schools. The announcement, which focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) studies, was made today during a special ceremony at Tulsa’s Will Rogers College High that was attended by local and state officials, including Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

Credits Count, a signature program of the AEP Foundation, will begin at Will Rogers College High School and expand to three additional Tulsa public high schools and include the middle schools that feed into them. TCC will work with students and their families to explore STEM fields, introducing students to careers they otherwise may never have considered as career options. Along the way, Credits Count will help students fill in learning gaps, so they are ready to study college-level courses while still in high school. By graduation, students will have earned credits that count toward a certificate in a STEM-related career or a college degree in fields that include engineering, biotechnology and information technology.

“I am very pleased to announce this innovative partnership between the AEP Foundation, TCC, and TPS to benefit students and their families in PSO’s headquarters city,” said Stuart Solomon, president and chief operating officer of Public Service Company of Oklahoma, an electric utility subsidiary of American Electric Power (AEP). “The Credits Count program is the largest gift that the AEP Foundation has ever made in the state of Oklahoma. This gift will help our students pursue STEM-related careers and college studies, and become the next generation of critical thinkers who will find solutions to complex challenges for businesses and communities.”

The four major components of the Credits Count program include:

  • Dual Enrollment in High Schools and at TCC – allowing students to graduate high school with at least 12 college credits toward an associate degree or job ready certificate;
  • STEM Experiences – expanding awareness at an early age of possible STEM careers through middle and high school exploration experiences;
  • College Course Readiness Assessments – identifying gaps in writing, reading and math that may require tutoring;
  • Summer Bridge Programs – providing remediation in English and math and improving skills prior to students’ participation in dual enrollment programs.

“This partnership will help with the STEM pipeline from middle school through the completion of a college degree. TCC, through its Tulsa Achieves program as well as EXCELerate, has a powerful model on providing access to higher education,” said TCC President and CEO Leigh B. Goodson, Ph.D. “Credits Count is designed to reach an urban, low income and diverse population by removing barriers so we can develop a competitive, educated and robust STEM focused workforce.”

TCC will facilitate the dual enrollment program in cooperation with Tulsa Public Schools allowing up to 800 students to participate in college course work while completing high school. An estimated 3,000 middle school students will participate in a STEM experience. The program will reach nearly 1,000 students to assess college readiness and the Summer Bridge program is estimated to reach 800 students to improve math, science and English skills.

Fallin expressed her appreciation for the leadership of all the partners involved, and added that initiatives like Credits Count will help set a standard for others to follow.

“One of the things that Oklahoma has to do to continue to grow our economy and create good career opportunities for our citizens is to increase educational attainment,” said Fallin. “Our businesses need a skilled, technically proficient workforce, and that means producing more STEM graduates. The great work being done on that front by the AEP Foundation, the TCC Foundation and Tulsa Public Schools is a model I hope we can replicate across the state.”

TCC is the third college to receive funding from the AEP Foundation for a Credits Count program. The first two were Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio, and Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City, Louisiana.

“The Credits Count grant represents a significant financial investment in the Tulsa community,” said Lauren Brookey, TCC Vice President of External Affairs. “AEP and its local subsidiary PSO are terrific corporate partners that will help shape the future of Tulsa students and their education.”