The partnership between Southeastern Oklahoma State University and TAPS Public Transit was among 27 business and higher education partnerships recognized for innovative collaborations that strengthen economic development efforts and workforce.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Economic Development Grant for the Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award is designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents’ Economic Development Grants.

SOSU and TAPS have partnered to provide transportation for students and business commuters from Texas to Oklahoma.

“These successful partnerships link real-world business experiences to the higher education process,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “One of the key benefits from these partnerships is the results-driving solutions generated to resolve business problems.”

The Southeastern and TAPS two-state shuttle project began in Fall 2012.

Through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation, TAPS provides public transportation for students to the Southeastern campus in Durant and for employees to such Durant businesses as Alorica, Choctaw Casino, and Delaware North. The future goal for this service is to grow its ridership as it continues to connect Oklahoma and Texas while creating a positive economic impact on the region, its employers, and future Southeastern graduates.

Institutions involved in these partnerships provide $500 for tuition waivers to employees of the partnering businesses; internships for current students of the institutions to work at the partnering businesses; faculty externships with the partnering businesses; and/or enhancement of the partnerships with additional equipment, materials or supplies.

The State Regents provide a $500 match to the tuition waivers.