PITTSBURG - The signing of an articulation agreement at the Kansas Technology Center Tuesday morning by Steve Scott, president of Pittsburg State University, and Daniel Barwick, president of Independence Community College, marked the acceleration of a partnership between the two institutions designed to benefit students.

The agreement means high school graduates from the Independence area can continue to live and home and attend school at ICC to earn their associate’s degree, then seamlessly transfer to Pittsburg State to continue their education and earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology.

Ultimately, they’ll be more marketable to Fortune 500 companies in automotive, aviation, and other industries.

The brief ceremony Tuesday included an introduction by Greg Murray, chair of the Department of Engineering Technology at PSU, who said the agreement opened new doors for students.

“We’re pretty proud of our students here and what we have to offer them, and this agreement allows even more students this great opportunity that we have here,” Murray said, noting that that the curriculum includes earning industry-recognized certification — a big selling point.

Students from the engineering department have been offered internships across the U.S. and in Australia, upping the chances of their landing jobs as soon as they graduate.

One such student, Eric Schlange, a senior in mechanical engineering from Independence, was on hand at the signing ceremony to demonstrate the use of a CNC mill. Schlange spent the past summer in an internship at Standard Motor Products in Independence, a leading independent manufacturer, distributor and marketer of replacement parts for motor vehicles in the automotive aftermarket industry, with an increasing focus on the original equipment and original equipment service markets, and upon graduation in May will start his career there.

Dr. Scott said others have gone on to careers at Nike, GM, Cessna, Black & Veatch, Leggett & Platt, and many other industries that require a high level of engineering.

“Their lives are better because they passed through this place and their lives are better because they passed through ICC,” he said.

Dr. Barwick said ICC and Pittsburg State have a rich history of collaboration and it was “a natural fit to partner together.”

Pittsburg State’s relationships with community colleges is not new, noted Dr. Scott; the University has strived to work closely with community colleges across the state, and now has a roster of more than 60 articulation agreements in place — many of them at the Kansas Technology Center. But today’s is the first in the College of Technology.

The agreement is the second with ICC; the first was in 2010 with the College of Education as part of the 2+2 Initiative.

For more information about the Engineering Technology program, visit http://www.pittstate.edu/department/engineering-tech/