Senator Whitsett on OIT new campus

Oregon Institute of Technology is the entrepreneur of graduate achievement among Oregon’s public universities. We believe that few other public universities provide students the return on investment they can achieve at OIT.

Our graduates are among the most heavily recruited in the nation. In fact, within six months of graduation, more than 90 percent of all OIT graduates have found a job within their field of training, or have been accepted into graduate studies. Most OIT graduates receive multiple employment offers from industry. This has continued is spite of the fact that our state and nation have been in deep recession for five long years.

Last year, the average annual starting salary for OIT graduates was $56,000. Moreover, the application of our graduates’ engineering skills is helping to grow Oregon’s economy. Their successful work in a variety of Oregon businesses and industries is effectively creating many times more family-wage jobs and is helping to grow taxable income.

This success did not happen by accident. For more than three decades, OIT administrators have gone out and asked industry leaders what our graduates need to know, and what they need to be able to do, to be really useful to their business employers. We have used that information to craft detailed programs to help our students develop the specific knowledge, and the skill sets, that they must have to succeed. OIT staff then follows up with the business employers to see how well our graduates are doing and what more that we can do, to better prepare them for the modern workforce.

OIT maintains about a twenty to one student to faculty ratio. Those faculty members teach their own classes and instruct their own lab while also mentoring and advising their students. This teaching of the latest technology and its hands on application has created huge demand for OIT graduates.

So it is not by chance that OIT is currently rated among the ten best undergraduate universities in the Western United States or that our undergraduate engineering programs are rated among the thirty five best in the entire nation and the sixth best among public universities. This year, Forbes Magazine ranked OIT among the top 20 percent of all four-year and graduate universities in the United States.

OIT has been designated Oregon’s Renewable Energy Center and Oregon Center for Health Professions by the Oregon Legislature. Our staff and students have risen to the challenge of being Oregon’s leader in renewable energy and health sciences. We believe that our Bachelors and Masters programs in these disciplines are the finest in the nation if not among the best in the world.

Our graduates that have earned degrees in Electronics Engineering Technology, Software Engineering Technology, and Information Engineering Technology are also in huge demand. In addition, we simply cannot educate enough health sciences students to fill the need. In fact, we are currently unable to train enough students to meet the demands of our industry partners. Because of that unmet demand, too many of our undergraduates are being hired even before they finish their degrees.

We have been hearing talk that by opening its new campus in Wilsonville, Oregon Institute of Technology may somehow be diminishing the University’s presence in Klamath Falls. Nothing could be further from the actual truth.

OIT had four existing teaching facilities in and around the Portland-Metro area. Consolidation into one location can only improve its teaching efficiency and lower its overall costs.

The new facility is a spacious and modern, four story brick and glass 193,000 square foot building, located on the edge of Portland’s Silicon Forest. It is a great investment that will help to ensure OIT’s future.

The new addition is situated directly among a number of high tech engineering and technology industries. These companies will be among OIT’s best customers for electrical and manufacturing engineers as well as graduates in Software and Mechanical Engineering technologies.

The Wilsonville location will greatly expand and enhance its electrical engineering and technology programs through the ability to partner with local high tech engineering and production firms. These partnerships will allow students to intern in working engineering and production environments as well as bringing very high tech and expensive equipment onto campus for use both in hands-on teaching and industry applications.

In fact, the entire third floor is leased to an Iowa based aviation electronics company that will both provide students hands on learning experience as well allowing some of their employees to teach high tech classes. In addition to Rockwell Collins inside the building, the campus is virtually adjacent to several other high-tech companies such as Xerox, Mentor Graphics, Intel and FLIR Systems. The proximity of the new branch campus to high-tech companies will facilitate many of their employees participating in OIT classes to further their education and even pursuing several of the Masters Degrees being offered.

Also of great importance is the proximity to Oregon Health Sciences University. The new Clinical Laboratory Science and EMT/Paramedic programs will be a joint venture and degree program between the two universities.

These are only two of the many additions that will serve to enhance OIT’s signature Renewable Energy Engineering and Health Sciences programs at its Klamath Falls Campus. The addition of the new courses and opportunities made possible by the Wilsonville Campus can only serve to enhance that already distinctive brand name.

Klamath Falls will always be the home of the “Hustling Owls”. The Wilsonville addition will only help to ensure that future.

Ending this prolonged economic recession will require vigorous business and industrial growth. That growth in turn requires well trained college graduates who have learned the technology and skills necessary for modern business development. Equally important is the critical thinking skills and solid work ethic developed in the typical OIT graduate.

We are confident that we will be better able to serve that future growth by expanding our capabilities through the development of the Wilsonville Campus to fill the unmet needs of our colleagues in industry. Working together, we can help Oregon restore a healthy and vibrant economy.








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