CareerTech Horizon Podcast: “Power Up!”

When is the last time you thought about what goes into keeping power going to your home, uninterrupted?

Oklahoma’s thriving and evolving energy industry can be found in many forms. Whether it’s oil, gas, hydroelectric, wind, or solar energy, careers in this field can be lucrative and rewarding, but with a growing gap for skilled labor around the state, energy leaders hope more students sign on to technical programs to keep things going.

In this episode:

  • Horizon travels the state to hear from energy leaders on the challenges they are facing, and the new programs in place to help alleviate the energy skills gap.
  • Two students from very different backgrounds are profiled, and who are training for two very different jobs, but are ultimately working for the same goal.
  • They climb hundreds of feet to get a good view of the wind energy industry, and learn about the technical and safety demands of the job.
  • Listen in on a panel discussion, as Oklahoma’s energy experts discuss what parts of the industry will change in the coming years, and what parts will stay the same.
Episode 8: “Power Up!” Listen on your favorite podcasting app or on the Horizon website

You can subscribe to the Horizon podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, TuneIn, Stitcher, or ask your smart speaker to “Play CareerTech Horizon.”

Also, don’t forget to follow them on Twitter @CT_Horizon, or on Facebook to stay up to date with this ongoing project. Visit their website for show notes, episode trailers, and bonus content “Beyond Your Horizon” at http://cthorizon.org.

CareerTech Champions

Logan Drury – Meridian Technology Center and HOSA

This nursing student is paying for college one vial at a time.

THEN: A rodeo queen who grew up riding horses and competing in rodeos. Logan Drury loved her equestrian activities, but she always knew she wanted to be a nurse. The Mulhall-Orlando high school student knew a nursing career would require college, which would require money — which would require skills. Not a problem for this forward-thinking young woman! Drury enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s health careers program, hoping to learn skills that would allow her to supplement her income and find work in a field she enjoyed while she was going to college. At Meridian Tech, she

  • Learned time management and project prioritization.
  • Learned venipuncture and how to draw blood.
  • Learned patient care.
  • Was a member of HOSA – Future Health Professionals, the career and technology student organization associated with health careers education.

“I enjoyed the hands-on approach of my classes, and I loved the fact that my instructors were actually nurses themselves,” she said. “They didn’t just read or lecture about health careers; they drew from their own experiences.”

After completing the health careers program, Drury passed the National Healthcareer Association’s phlebotomy exam and became a certified phlebotomy technician.

NOW: Drury works as a phlebotomist at Stillwater Medical Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Because she is certified, she started at a higher pay rate when she was hired. She attends nursing school at Northern Oklahoma College. Her initial goal is to become a registered nurse, eventually obtaining a bachelor of science in nursing degree and possibly a doctor of nursing practice degree.

“Many times, students think you have to either go to college or go to work. With CareerTech, you can do both.”

Logan Drury
phlebotomist and nursing student

Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, Highway Patrol enter agreement for entrance exam

The Oklahoma CareerTech Testing Center, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, has secured an agreement to provide the entrance exam for Oklahoma state trooper candidates.

Under the agreement with the Department of Public Safety, applicants to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy will take the Oklahoma Peace Officer Screening and Selection Exam developed by the CareerTech Testing Center. CTTC will provide the exam through its existing in-person and virtual test sites across Oklahoma.

“We are pleased to partner with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to offer this entrance assessment for state troopers,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “By providing the assessment through the existing infrastructure of the Oklahoma CareerTech Testing Center, access to the testing will be available statewide.”

Oklahoma POSSE measures a candidate’s ability to demonstrate basic academic skills needed to successfully complete OHP cognitive training requirements for reading, writing, performing math calculations and using basic communication and reasoning skills.

“The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is excited about this new partnership with Oklahoma CareerTech,” said Capt. Donald Kerr, commander of the OHP Training Center. “This collaboration simplifies the process for OHP trooper candidates and means they can take the test at any time at a location that is convenient for them. This will also streamline the process for OHP as we screen applicants for our future academies.”

CTTC originally developed the test to meet legislative requirements for entrance into the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training Academy. Police departments across the state and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections also use the test.

OHP will inform candidates of specific details related to testing and use of the results. More information about test site locations, fees and required documentation can be found on Oklahoma CareerTech’s website.

About CareerTech Testing Center

As a service of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the CareerTech Testing Center has provided standards and assessments for career and technology education programs since 1985. It also partners with numerous state agencies to develop and deliver examinations required for certifications and licensures.

Oklahoma Aerospace: Building on a Rich Tradition

Home to aerospace pioneers such as Wiley Post and Clyde Cessna, Oklahoma has a rich legacy of aerospace innovation dating back more than a century and has played a decisive role in America’s aviation history.

Today, Oklahoma continues to serve as a hub of aerospace innovation, as some of the world’s most successful aerospace companies choose to run major operations in the state.

Oklahoma is home to more than 1,100 aerospace entities, which employ more than 120,000 Oklahomans, according to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Among them are Boeing, NORDAM, American Airlines, Spirit AeroSystems and Tinker Air Force Base.

Tinker is the largest single-site employer in the state and contributes more than $3 billion to the local economy annually. The Oklahoma City installation has an annual statewide economic impact of $3.6 billion, creating an estimated 33,000 secondary jobs.

A central hub for maintenance, repair and overhaul of military and civil aircraft, Oklahoma’s aerospace and defense industries produce about $27 billion in sales and $19 billion in exports each year. The aerospace industry spans the state with major centers of operation in Ardmore, Fort Sill, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and western Oklahoma.

In addition, the state’s reputation as a leader in aerospace stems from its central location, higher education, military bases and a CareerTech system that offers a wide range of career training opportunities in aerospace at seven campuses.

Providing educational opportunities for a career in aerospace is an important part of the state’s mission to sustain and grow the aerospace industry in Oklahoma. By creating pathways for education in aerospace, Oklahoma CareerTech is offering Oklahoma aerospace companies access to a pipeline of talent.

What’s more, with the recent donation of the MD-80 from American Airlines, Oklahoma CareerTech students will be able to train hands-on with the equipment they will use in the field.

CareerTech, vet med association partner to teach veterinary assistants

A new Oklahoma CareerTech certification exam will help veterinary assistants show they have the skills they need to care for the state’s animal population.

CareerTech is working with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association to offer veterinary assistant certification for individuals completing the OVMA Certified Veterinary Assistant Program. The program is designed to help veterinary practices spend less time training new employees while ensuring the employees have the skills they need.

“We are pleased to partner with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association to offer this certification exam,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “Oklahoma CareerTech Testing Center has used its proven blueprint to develop an effective assessment with subject matter experts and will deploy the certification on the existing infrastructure, allowing for increased access to the testing across the state.”

Individuals working in the field can complete the OVMA Certified Veterinary Assistant Program at their own pace and then take the certification exam that the CareerTech Testing Center developed with a committee of subject matter experts. Once they’ve earned certification they can renew it every year with continuing education and a renewal fee.

The program’s goals are to increase levels of professionalism and customer service, encourage a culture of teamwork, increase the knowledge of animal care and increase the knowledge of proper handling techniques.

“The Oklahoma Certified Veterinary Assistant Program through the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association will ensure that students and workers are prepared to enter the veterinary world by providing a solid foundation of knowledge required to be successful in the clinic setting,” said Dr. Jennifer Schoonover, a veterinarian and OVMA president. “Veterinarians will be able to feel confident in hiring certified individuals and in continuing their staff’s education through this program due to the standard skill set covered.

“However, I think we can all agree the greatest benefit will be allowing veterinarians to better provide a consistent high quality of care to their patients and clientele.”

Individuals are required to apply for the program and then complete 100 hours of supervised training before taking the exam. CTTC’s network of testing sites at Oklahoma technology centers will give participants easier access for taking the exam.

For more information about the Certified Veterinary Assistants Program, visit https://okvma.org/veterinary-assistants-program/. For more information about the certification exam, visit https://www.okcareertech.org/educators/assessments-and-testing/health-certification-project-hcp/veterinary-assistant/veterinary-assistant.

About CareerTech Testing Center

As a service of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the CareerTech Testing Center has provided standards and assessments for career and technology education programs since 1985. It also partners with numerous state agencies to develop and deliver examinations required for certifications and licensures.

About Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association

The Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, a professional trade organization for veterinarians, was formed in 1907 and incorporated in 1934. The membership of the association is composed of more than 1,000 individual Oklahoma veterinarians, Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences faculty, veterinary students, out-of-state veterinarians and allied members.

Toyota donates new car to Indian Capital Tech

Indian Capital Technology Center automotive technology students have a new Toyota Corolla to learn on, thanks to two ICTC alumni.

The Toyota Corporation donated the 2019 Corolla through Gulf States Toyota of Houston, along with Jim Norton Toyota of Tulsa and James Hodge Toyota of Muskogee. The alumni, Luke Jackson and Greg Foster, work in parts and service for Jim Norton Toyota of Tulsa and worked with Toyota Corporation to get the donation, ICTC instructor Andrew Theodore told the Muskogee Phoenix.

For more about the donation, read the article on the Muskogee Phoenix’s website.

CareerTech Champions

Ike McVicker – High Plains Technology Center

Newlywed finds one-stop shop to support his growing family.

THEN: Newly married and working a part-time job with no idea what route to take for a career. After Ike McVicker graduated from Woodward High School in 2011 and got married, his mother-in-law mentioned to him that High Plains Technology Center had a wind program. He spoke to school representatives and loved what they had to say, so he enrolled. Through the program, he

  • Learned all aspects of the wind industry from a high-level view down to the small details of how to troubleshoot and use basic tools.
  • Became certified in several emergency rescue devices that are used in the wind industry as well as in Microsoft Excel.
  • Learned how to build a resume and developed interview skills.
  • Installed his own sprinkler system at his home using the skills he learned in electrical and hydraulic systems.

NOW: McVicker is the manager of two wind farms near Woodward. His responsibilities include maintaining the high voltage substation, the turbines themselves and everything in between. He is responsible for the wind farms meeting all of the performance metrics and being safe while doing so.

“A job in the wind industry is stable; it’s challenging but still fun,” he said. “By having that great, stable job you’re able to provide for your family, which is ultimately most people’s end goal, I think.

“High Plains was a one-stop shop for me. My goal was to get a job, but what I ended up getting is more than that. You get so many more skills, and you learn that getting a job or being qualified for a job is a lot more than you would think.”

McVicker says almost all the technicians at his locations have come from the High Plains wind program.

“We feel like there’s so much value in hiring people who have come through this program. They’re committed, they’re trained, and they’re ready to go,” he said.

Oklahoma energy industry partners with education sector to develop energy’s next generation workforce

Governor Stitt declares Oct. 19 – 23 Oklahoma Careers in Energy Week

The Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium is launching a new energy career cluster to promote the benefits of pursuing careers in energy. Energy is the highest-paying industry in the state, averaging more than $100,000 annually.

Leaders within the energy industry initiated the OEWC to address a looming shortage of skilled workers that is expected nationwide by 2025. With the help of educational leaders, the group aims to engage the next generation by adding a new career cluster to the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education’s instructional framework.

“Energy plays a vital role in the lives of Oklahomans, and we want to provide a focused, comprehensive and engaging framework for students to learn more about the high-wage and rewarding careers available in the energy industry,” said Sean Trauschke, chairman, president and chief executive officer of OGE Energy Corp. “We are proud to join with partners throughout Oklahoma’s energy sector to demonstrate the wide variety of occupations, from careers in power generation to renewable energies to new technologies in oil and gas and more.”

In anticipation of the new career cluster’s introduction, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued a state proclamation recognizing Oct. 19-23, 2020, as Oklahoma Careers in Energy Week.

“The energy sector is a key element of Oklahoma’s economic growth, and it is more diverse and modern than many realize,” Stitt said. “The next generation of bright minds and aspiring leaders will continue this work. These students represent the future of our state, and the unity within this career cluster, encompassing some of our largest industries, including utilities, renewable energy and oil and gas, shows the ever-increasing diversity and complexity of Oklahoma’s energy sector.”

In addition to industry leaders, the consortium includes representatives from CareerTech, common education, higher education and government focused on creating a pipeline of talented, diverse individuals to meet future needs within the state’s energy sector.

“Providing opportunities for students to learn about the important industries in their own communities through partnerships like this one is a long-valued pillar at CareerTech,” said Marcie Mack, state director of CareerTech. “The Energy Career Cluster is the most recent example of CareerTech’s ability to partner with employers and all levels of education within Oklahoma and equip students with tools and skills they need to thrive within our state’s diverse workforce.”

The Energy Career Cluster will be one of 17career clusters in Oklahoma, and will be added to the list of industry-specific sectors that constitute CareerTech’s instructional framework.

“So many rewarding careers exist within the energy sector,” said PSO President and Chief Operating Officer Peggy Simmons. “We rely on highly skilled workers to serve our customers and drive innovation to shape the future. Students interested in earning competitive wages in a field with unlimited potential should consider a career in energy – we’d love to have bright and creative minds join our team.”

The OEWC cites the impending workforce shortage as a major driver for its formation. Most schools have or are implementing STEM programs and curriculum, which is an important component of energy jobs. STEM-related skills are also very transferable across many jobs and many other industries, providing students with many more options when it comes time to choose a career or pursue a college degree in a high-wage, high-demand STEM field.

“Increasing awareness of educational pathways for Oklahoma’s critical occupations is a key element of the state system of higher education’s ongoing efforts to advance educational attainment in our state,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. “Our state system colleges and universities offer numerous degree options to prepare graduates for employment in the energy sector.”

“The Workforce Development mission is to drive success by connecting industries and education to build a workforce for today and a talent pipeline for tomorrow,” said Don Morris, executive director of the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development. “Key partnerships such as this make a true difference for job seekers, businesses and all of Oklahoma. This type of teamwork and camaraderie are what make Oklahoma the place people want to live and work.”

“I’m proud to partner with Oklahoma CareerTech, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium to support a new career cluster for energy,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “Oklahoma’s future depends on students who are prepared today for a highly specialized workforce of tomorrow. This career cluster will help develop a talent pipeline to meet the demands in our state for qualified energy careers.”

“This partnership is a great opportunity to showcase what a career in energy really looks like and show the positive benefits of working in one of the largest industries in Oklahoma,” said Brook A. Simmons, president of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma. “We are able to carry out our association’s mission to build a better Oklahoma through capital investments and investing in the future of the oil and natural gas industry through students.”

“We are challenged with meeting our energy needs reliably, affordably and in environmentally responsible ways,” said Chris Meyers, general manager and CEO of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of this industry.”

OEWC, initiated by industry leaders and endorsed by state education leaders, is planning to celebrate Careers in Energy Week by highlighting the importance of energy, the benefits of the industry and how students can get involved in the field. On Oct. 21 at 2 p.m., CareerTech will host a virtual discussion on Zoom about the career cluster’s launch. The group has long-term plans to work closely with educators, career counselors and parents to raise awareness about the energy industry.

For more information about the Energy Career Cluster, Careers in Energy Week and the Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium, visit okcareertech.org, OKcollegestart.org or Oklahoma.getintoenergy.com.

About Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium

Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium is a partnership among Oklahoma energy companies and organizations with a mission to raise awareness about the energy industry and career pathways available to Oklahoma students. The consortium represents the energy industry, education, government and community leaders united to build a talent pipeline for Oklahoma’s energy sector. The full list of consortium members can be viewed at Oklahoma.getintoenergy.com.

More than 1,600 attend virtual BPA, DECA conference

Oklahoma Business Professionals of America and Oklahoma DECA hosted a virtual Fall Leadership Conference for more than 1,600 students and advisers.

The conference centered around students finding their leadership voices and using them to amplify their strengths as leaders, role models and BPA and DECA members. In addition to sessions on learning their styles and working with other leaders, students also heard from Alton Carter, author of “The Boy Who Carried Bricks” and “Aging Out” and founder of the Alton Carter Inspire Foundation, which helps individuals in foster homes, group homes and boys ranches earn college degrees.

“This year has brought about so many changes, but one thing it has not changed is the hard work and dedication that Oklahoma CTSO state officers pour into their organizations,” said Paxton Cavin, state BPA and DECA adviser. “No matter what has been put in their path, on their list or abruptly changed, these officers have stepped up to the occasion. I could not be more proud of these two state officer teams and the work they have done and continue to do during this crazy year.”

CareerTech Champions

Samir Elneser – Metro Technology Centers and HOSA

This man’s wife didn’t need an X-ray to see her husband’s passion for health care.

THEN: A bachelor’s degree in business information systems guided him toward a career in marketing and retail, but when Samir Elneser was in his 40s, he was suddenly laid off and looking for a new job.

Elneser was born in the United States to immigrants from Colombia and Lebanon. The son of a doctor, he chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps. When the younger Elneser lost his job, however, his wife convinced him to reconsider the medical field. He took her advice, training as a nurse’s aide and going to work in a hospital. There he discovered he was more interested in the work being done by the radiologic technologists.

He found a full-time RT program at Metro Technology Centers. He joined HOSA, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with health careers education, winning gold medals at both state and international competitions. Elneser

  • Found his lifelong profession at Metro Tech.
  • Learned to take patient X-rays.
  • Received the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists radiography certification.

“Taking X-rays requires creating a high level of patient comfort through proper positioning and communication,” he said. “I also interact and engage with many different patients in a typical day, and I enjoy that diversity.”

NOW: A radiologic technologist at Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center-Norman, OU Medicine and Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. Elneser finished the program with 15 classmates he considers close friends.

 He said Metro Tech was invested in his success. Even when the program was challenging, Elneser said, he knew he had the support of his teachers.

“My teachers held me and my classmates accountable while instilling the confidence we needed to be the best.”

Samir Elneser, radiologic technologist

« Older Entries