Students gather in the workshop of Meridian Technology Center’s Energy and Power program to fly remote-control drones. The tall ceilings of the space are perfect for flight practice as they carefully guide the aircraft through takeoff, flight and landing. The students are preparing for their FAA UAS Pilot Test 107, which will certify them to fly drones commercially.
It’s no coincidence this is part of the course curriculum. Industry experts on Meridian’s Business and Education Council for the program suggested it be incorporated into the Energy and Power curriculum. The certification is becoming more popular and necessary in today’s workforce, especially in the energy industry. Drones with cameras are used to inspect power lines and substations, which is safer and more efficient than climbing up or using a helicopter.
Each of Meridian’s 24 programs is shaped with input from Business and Education Council members who meet to keep the programs relevant to the Meridian district. The council members are industry experts who provide input on technology, equipment and the workplace to ensure graduates complete their program with the skills they need to be work-ready.
While curriculum design is a large part of this relationship, council members are also involved with the big picture of Meridian’s programs. The Energy and Power program itself, which is beginning its second year this fall, came about as a direct result of input from local employers like Stillwater Energy Center and Central Electric Cooperative.
Not only did they help design the curriculum, but representatives from both organizations came to Meridian’s recruitment events to talk with potential students and create excitement for the program. After the program began, the class visited Stillwater Energy Center for a full tour of the power plant and its new engines, and Central Electric invited the class for a field trip as well. “Both have been very helpful,” said Jeff Littau, Energy and Power Instructor.
These relationships with council members can result in jobs for Meridian graduates as well. Stillwater company and council member Designer’s Ink has begun hiring interns from Meridian’s Computer-Aided Design program, which resulted in a full-time job offer for last year’s intern. Stillwater Energy Center has also hired students.
Council members also provide feedback on the strength of a Meridian education. Last year, more than 94% of participants rated Meridian excellent or above average for curriculum, instruction, equipment and technology.
Meridian welcomes the participation of local leaders on a program’s Business and Education Council. Contact us at (405) 377-3333 or toll-free at (888) 607-2509 to learn more.
In addition, to hire a Meridian graduate, employers can connect directly with a Meridian instructor or post their job opening at meridiantech.edu/areajobs.
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, Business and Industry services and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts. Meridian is one of 29 schools within Oklahoma’s CareerTech system.