OATC Partners for Progress highlight: B&H Construction partners with Mid-America Tech

Mid-America Technology Center named B&H Construction its OklahoMidAmericama Association of Technology Centers Partner for Progress.

B&H Construction, a 36-year contractor for OneGas with crews throughout Oklahoma and parts of Kansas and Texas, is a longtime partner of Mid-America tech.

Changes in the OneGas operator qualification requirements meant B&H Construction needed to train and qualify more than 220 employees. Mid-America assembled subject matter experts and professional partnerships that helped B&H lower the costs of the changes and provided a resource for the tech center to use as well.

The mutual investment allows students and employees to benefit from operator qualification training, operator qualification performance verification, polyfusion pipe welding training, leadership training, safety training and respirator fit testing (service).

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Steven Rogers – DECA, High Plains Technology Center

Technology center instructor literally grew up in the CareerTech family.StevenRogers

THEN: As a small child, Steven Rogers says, he ran the hallways of High Plains Technology Center while his dad taught in a classroom there. Having grown up on that campus, it wasn’t much of a stretch for him to take classes there as soon as he was old enough.

Steven chose marketing and management classes at High Plains Tech and joined DECA, the CareerTech student organization for marketing students.

He said his two years in DECA taught him:

  • Public speaking, through competitions and events.
  • The importance of good customer service.
  • How to be more self-confident, something his marketing instructor emphasized.
  • Business management skills.

After graduation, Steven used those management skills to open three businesses in five years.

I think students coming out of CareerTech have a better understanding of the mechanics of a business,” he said.

NOW: Steven needed to make a career change for personal reasons and decided to join the High Plains family once again, this time as an instructor. He was denied that opportunity three times, but he did not give up. With his fourth application, Steven was hired.

“I have a passion for teaching, and I love the CareerTech family as my own,” he said.

Steven is now the industrial coordinator at High Plains Tech. Also a fireman and EMT, Steven teaches fire, industrial and wind rescue classes.

“CareerTech helps students develop strong work ethics.”  Steven Rogers

Oklahoma CareerTech Offers Training to Tech Center Student Services Workers

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Sixteen Oklahoma technology center student services employees recently graduated from the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech’s Student Services Endorsement Program.

The program is designed to equip student services employees with a foundation in the philosophy, knowledge and skills that are unique to Oklahoma’s CareerTech System.

Graduates were Tiffany Ash, customer service, and Jennifer Tupper, grants and special projects coordinator, both of Moore Norman Tech; Sheila Boaldin, assessment coordinator, Bryan Roybal, special needs adviser, and Tara Chase, career adviser, all of Francis Tuttle Tech; Tiffany Bruce, student services director, Tri County Tech; RaChel Crume, director of student services, Southwest Tech; Carly Jones, PATHS counselor, Stoni Peck, school counselor, and Stephanie Smithart, financial aid/registrar, all of Kiamichi Tech; Mindi Mitchell, employment specialist, Kristi Stephens, counselor, and Kari Stomprud, special needs coordinator, all of Canadian Valley Tech; Candyce Myers, director of student services, Chisholm Trail Tech; Shayne Stanford, career counselor, Autry Tech; and Sheila Williams, counselor/student services coordinator, Green Country Tech.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education offers the Student Services Endorsement Program every other year to help technology center student services workers to better assist their students.

“Building a network of support and resources is vital to student success as the role of student services encompasses counselors, job placement staff, career specialists, assessment staff, special needs coordinators and financial aid administrators,” said A.J. Crowell, career development specialist at ODCTE.

The program was designed for newly hired technology center staff, but veteran staff members can also benefit from it, he said.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 393 K-12 school districts, 16 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 31 adult basic education service providers.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

Northeast Tech Partners with MidAmerica Industrial Park on Industrial Maintenance

 

Northeast Tech and MidAmerica Industrial Park worked together to create an apprenticeship program to train industrial maintenance employees for companies in the park.

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The program, which is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor and was developed in coordination with the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development, serves as a liaison between MidAmerica employers and other key community organizations. The Department of Labor provides technical assistance for the formation of on-the-job work processes including technical instruction and has guided MAIP and Northeast Tech through the steps of developing the program.

Participants in the two-year program spend four hours a week in the classroom and the rest of their week at work. The program is in its first year, and the participants are employees at MAIP businesses, giving MidAmerica companies the opportunity develop employees from within.

Apprentices are guaranteed two pay raises within the program and graduate with a certificate in industrial maintenance from Northeast Tech and a Department of Labor apprenticeship certification.

Travis Smith – Metro Technology Centers

Travis Smith, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning instructor at Metro Technology Centers, recently received the Outstanding Instructor of Non-Traditional Students Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

He was one of 21 Oklahomans honored at the 25th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol on March 28. Making It Work Day recognizes individuals who are committed to removing barriers to success for single-parent families by providing educational experiences for students beyond the classroom. The ceremony also recognized nontraditional students and members who received national honors for their efforts.

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From left are Becki Foster, Oklahoma CareerTech chief of staff; Patrick Klein, Oklahoma DHS chief officer and division director of adult and family services; Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City; Travis Smith, Metro Tech HVAC instructor; and Goldie Thompson, OSRHE vice chancellor for student preparation and special programs

Individuals were recognized on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and presentations were made at a luncheon at the Oklahoma History Center.

Smith has worked in the HVAC industry for more than 13 years. While teaching HVAC at Vatterott, he attended an advisory board meeting at Metro Tech for his boss and met an HVAC instructor who was retiring, said Terri Grusendorf, Metro Tech BEST Program coordinator, who nominated him for the award.

“Not only does he help students obtain their HVAC certification, he also teaches them about interpersonal skills, communication and proper presentation in the workforce,” Grusendorf said. “Mr. Smith is a great example of going the extra mile for his students.”

OkCTEEC is affiliated with the administrative division of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. The council advocates for students pursuing nontraditional careers and for resources for educating single parents.

“OkCTEEC is so very proud and honored to host the Making It Work Day award ceremony and also very excited that Oklahoma’s Legislature has the opportunity to recognize those students who were nominated for outstanding achievement. This day is about recognizing not only outstanding students, but also business and community partners, instructors, OkCTEEC members and outstanding leadership. The students have incredible stories to share about overcoming barriers, but without all the partners, sometimes the barriers may not be overcome. This day is a day of celebration for all those who have vested their time and energy into seeing students succeed and rise to the occasion,” said KayTee Niquette, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

She serves as an adviser for OkCTEEC, along with Lisa French of the Department of Human Services and Gina McPherson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

“OkCTEEC Making It Work Day at the Capitol is about making connections, reaching out to the community and recognizing our students who have pushed through many obstacles to make completion and employment goals a reality. It is a day to celebrate our administrators and instructors who focus on making it accessible for programs involved in the process,” said Angela Barnes, OkCTEEC president and coordinator of the Student Success and Opportunity Center at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. “OKCTEEC Making It Work Day is a day to tip our hats off to our business partners for providing their valuable services and supporting our vision and purpose. It is a great day to let our state leaders, legislators and Oklahomans see the faces of those who go over and beyond at making a difference in our state.

“Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council is an organization devoted to equity in education and employment for disadvantaged groups. I can’t emphasize it more. We are dedicated to providing real-life experiences for our students, developing leaders and maintaining relationships within communities.”

OkCTEEC’s purposes include promoting and supporting career and technology education, increasing its effectiveness, promoting research in the field and in educational equity, developing leadership and advocating for equity and diversity.

For more information about OkCTEEC, visit www.cteec.org/. For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, visit www.okcareertech.org.

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Anthony Rifenberry – Adult Basic Education

Graduation and certification are terms this BPA winner didn’t expect to hear.

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THEN: He had been an orphan all of his life. Anthony Rifenberry moved from a series of foster homes to the Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch, now Lions Meadows of Hope. When he turned 18, he needed to find a job.

It was a vicious cycle. To get a job, he needed training, and to get training, he needed money. But the roadblocks didn’t stop there. Anthony wanted to enroll in Meridian Technology Center’s information technology program, but to qualify for the financial assistance he would need, he would have to have a high school diploma.

Anthony enrolled in the Meridian Tech’s adult basic education program, and in only three months, he earned his high school equivalency diploma. The ABE program gave Anthony:

  • The confidence to believe he could graduate high school.
  • Personal assistance with complex math and other subjects required to pass the HSE exam.
  • The knowledge and skills he needed to pass the HSE exam.

The smaller, more intimate classroom environment was one of the keys to Anthony’s academic success.

“I definitely learned more math at Meridian Tech than I did in high school,” he said.

NOW: Anthony is a member of Business Professionals of America, and his network design team won the state contest. The team will compete at BPA’s national conference in Anaheim, California, in May. After he graduates with his network and PC support specialist certification, Anthony would like to continue his education, possibly enrolling in network engineering or cybersecurity.

“I had convinced myself that graduating high school and getting into a technology center was not possible.”

Anthony Rifenberry

Oklahoma CareerTech’s OBAN Program Offering Free Workshops on U.S. HUBZone Program

The Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network will offer four free workshops in April and May to give information about an economic development opportunity existing in the federal Historically Underutilized Business Zone Program.OBAN

The workshops will be April 18 in Owasso, April 25 in Durant, April 30 in Lawton and May 8 in McAlester. To register or get more information call 405-227-0382 or go to the registration website for each workshop: https://hubzoneowasso.eventbrite.com (Owasso), https://hubzonedurant.eventbrite.com (Durant), https://hubzonelawton.eventbrite.com (Lawton) or https://hubzonemcalester.eventbrite.com (McAlester).

“A large portion of Oklahoma is designated as HUBZone by the U.S. Small Business Administration,” OBAN program manager Carter Merkle explained. “This gives Oklahoma a competitive advantage in selling to federal agencies, a fact that should be understood by business owners, local chambers of commerce and economic development offices across the state. We at OBAN hope to raise awareness of the program and, as always, we stand ready to assist a business in applying for HUBZone certification.”

The HUBZone program seeks to encourage federal agencies to move at least 3 percent of their spending to companies operating in areas that have a history of low economic success. The areas, designated by the SBA, are chosen on economic activity, but also include Indian reservations and Oklahoma’s former reservations, which cover most of Oklahoma.

“The HUBZone program can help drive job growth and economic development in Oklahoma because certified HUBZone businesses must have their principal office located in a HUBZone and at least 35 percent of their employees must reside in the HUBZone,” said John D. Veal Jr., SBA Oklahoma deputy director.

The upcoming workshops feature presentations by Veal, OBAN procurement counselors and partners of Koprince Law LLC, specialists in federal contracting law. The events will also include current HUBZone certified businesses giving real life experiences using the program.

OBAN is a procurement technical assistance center operating within the Oklahoma CareerTech System. The program serves Oklahoma businesses, assisting them in selling to federal, state, local and tribal governments. OBAN has helped Oklahoma businesses capture billions of dollars over its 33-year history. It operates out of 12 Oklahoma CareerTech technology centers scattered across the state.

CareerTech launches preK-5 career awareness program

Oklahoma CareerTech launched a new online career awareness program for elementary students on March 12. The Galaxy program, a component of OK Career Guide, is for students in grades preK-5. Galaxy will be unveiled at the For Counselors Only Conference at Tulsa Technology Center’s Owasso campus.Basic RGB

The program combines games, activities and experiences for today’s tech-savvy learners, and is accessible from laptops, desktops and tablets. It uses an outer space theme, including astronauts and spaceships. Students launch into planets, which represent different work environments.

“It’s a fast-paced, interactive program that makes career awareness fun and engaging,” said Cori Gray, CareerTech deputy state director.

Lawton Public Schools Counselor Amy Wilcox said Galaxy encourages students to explore both traditional and nontraditional careers. Wilcox was part of a group that beta-tested the program before its official launch.

“Our students love the program,” Wilcox said. “Galaxy helps their self-esteem and encourages them to become more goal-oriented.”

The system begins with the basic concept of “What is work?” Each year the program builds on that concept, including what people do at work, why they work, what tools and skills they will use for work and how students can prepare for work. By fifth grade, students can investigate specific occupations.

“We’re just letting kids explore what’s out there,” said Lawton Assistant Principal Starla Reed.

In addition to career awareness, Galaxy’s activities integrate academic skills. It emphasizes the importance of reading and writing, and the games show how math, science and social studies fit into the world of work.

Reed said the program is designed to connect to the Individual Career Academic Plan required by Oklahoma state law. Beginning with the freshmen of 2018-19 (graduates of 2023), all Oklahoma students must have an ICAP to graduate. The ICAP guides them as they explore career, academic and post-secondary opportunities, and must be updated annually. A personal portfolio allows students to create meaningful career pathways and prepares them to be career- and college-ready.

Galaxy, a product of Kuder, makes OK Career Guide appropriate for Oklahomans of all ages in all stages of life. OK Career Guide is a statewide career development education system that offers research-based assessments that help users identify interests, skills and values. The system identifies training and education needs for each occupation and a database of schools that offer the necessary education for that career.

Parents and families can learn about Galaxy at https://galaxy.kuder.com/parents.

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Buddy Pearce – Pontotoc Technology Center

Buddy Pearce1

Firefighter followed his dream to the highest, driest, windiest, coldest continent on the planet.

THEN: After a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, two years of college and an unsatisfying job in the oil and gas industry, Buddy Pearce needed a new challenge. He said the most exciting thing he could imagine was to be a firefighter, so he sold his Harley-Davidson motorcycle for tuition money and enrolled in the 20-week fire academy at Pontotoc Technology Center. Buddy said his instructors at Pontotoc:

  • Taught him the importance of honor, loyalty and hard work.
  • Helped him prepare for a number of certifications, including firefighter I and II, HAZMAT operations, EMT basics, CPR and first aid.
  • Made it possible for him to land a full-time firefighter/EMT job in Seminole.

Buddy said his instructors inspired him so much he began working part-time as an instructor for the academy.

“The instructors prepared us not only for the fire service, but also to lead successful lives,” he said.

NOW: Buddy served four years with the Seminole Fire Department. He left Oklahoma to accept a position with the Antarctic Fire Department, the only full-time professional fire department in Antarctica. He is deployed six to seven months a year at McMurdo Station, a U.S.-managed scientific research station. He returns to Oklahoma between contracts.

“I am now skilled enough in my craft that I have been able to follow my dreams,” he said.Buddy Pearce 2

“I absolutely use the skills I acquired at Pontotoc Technology Center every day of my life.”

Buddy Pearce
Antarctic firefighter

 

“Oklahoma CareerTech is Workforce and Economic Development”

February is CTE Month, but shouldn’t every month be about career and technology education?

For more than 100 years, Oklahoma’s system of career and technology education has focused on improving Oklahoma’s economy by offering individuals the training and skills necessary to be successful in the workplace and providing companies with the required workforce necessary to compete globally.

Watch Dr. Marcie Mack, State Director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, discuss the exciting opportunities that CareerTech offers…

 

 

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