School counselors gather virtually for annual conference

Oklahoma school counselors will gather virtually March 9-10 to connect with each other and develop their knowledge and skills during the 17th annual For Counselors Only Conference.

More than 600 counselors from technology centers and prekindergarten-12th grade schools are expected to attend the free virtual conference, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The conference will have 45 breakout sessions and an opening and closing speaker. It will include live sessions during the two days, along with prerecorded and on-demand sessions available for participants to view at any time.

Although the conference is called For Counselors Only, it will host a variety of educators, including teachers, counselors, administrators, disabilities specialists, college and career readiness coordinators, mental health providers, instructional coaches and more, said Shawna Nord, academic coordinator in the ODCTE Counseling and Career Development Division.

It will include sessions on OK Career Guide, individual career academic plans, academic updates, interventions, mental health care, crisis preparedness and response, e-transcripts, financial literacy and advanced placement.

“For 17 years our conference has provided counselors the opportunity to connect and network with the Oklahoma school counseling communities. They take this day to focus on effective programs, professional advocacy and the tools they need to provide results showing the impact of school counseling programs,” Nord said.

Rhett Laubach, owner of YourNextSpeaker, will deliver the keynote address. He will focus on tools to help attendees rediscover energy, motivation and the reason why they do what they do, he said.

For more information or to register, visit https://whova.com/web/couns_202102/.

CareerTech students produce work-based learning videos

Eleven groups of Oklahoma CareerTech students from three technology centers recently earned money for their programs by showing the benefits of work-based learning.

The students participated in a student work-based learning video contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Each group produced a video sharing the benefits they have received from participating in work-based learning.

“The Fall 2020 Student Work-Based Learning Video Contest was created to encourage students to share work-based learning experiences in their own words,” said H.L. Baird, Oklahoma CareerTech work-based learning liaison. “We know how powerful work-based learning can be for providing the critical relevance that supports the academic and technical skills students learn in their CareerTech programs. And we know how powerful the voice of students are to other students.”

Each entry earned either $250 or $500 for the students’ programs. Entries for the contest came from Mid-America Technology Center, Moore Norman Technology Center and Tulsa Technology Center:

  • MATC Health Careers Explorer Program, “Experiencing Healthcare First Hand.”
  • MATC Veterinary Assistant Program, “Making Connections Working With Wildlife.”
  • MATC Veterinary Assistant Program, “Haz Tu Futuro Hoy (Make Your Future Today.”
  • MATC Health Careers Explorer Program, “A Career In Caring.”
  • MNTC Web Design Program, “MNTC Web Design.”
  • MATC Horticulture Technician Program, “Petal Pushers.”
  • MATC Veterinary Assistant Program, “For Those With A Heart – Experiencing Work-Based Learning With The Wildcare Foundation.”
  • MATC Veterinary Assistant Program, “Every Animal Large Or Small You Can Health Them All.”
  • Tulsa Tech TV Production, “TV Production With CareerTech #1.”
  • Tulsa Tech TV Production, “Working Towards Success.”
  • Tulsa Tech TV Production, “TV Production With CareerTech #2.”

The videos can be seen on Oklahoma CareerTech’s YouTube channel.

Work-based learning is an integral part of the Oklahoma CareerTech System. It is a partnership between education and business to create a skilled workforce for both now and the future, Baird said.

“Connecting with professionals in a student’s chosen career field brings a wealth of insight and knowledge students can learn from. WBL allows businesses to be proactive in developing the workforce they need to be successful. Both students and businesses have the opportunity to learn about each other through WBL experiences,” he said.

To learn more about work-based learning, visit the CareerTech website or contact Baird at 405-743-6812 or h.l.baird@careertech.ok.gov.

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, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 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.

Oklahoma CareerTech, DPS partner to offer driver’s license tests

The Oklahoma CareerTech Testing Center, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, has partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to offer Class D written driver’s license and motorcycle license tests through its network of test facilities. 

CTTC, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, will begin the pilot phase of the tests at Moore Norman Technology Center. 

“The Department of Public Safety has been working nonstop on different strategies to alleviate the long lines at our offices,” said DPS Commissioner John Scully. “We are thankful that Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order allowing CareerTech testing centers to offer the knowledge (written) test to Oklahomans seeking a driver’s license. This partnership will greatly benefit our customers and allows this part of the process to be accomplished without having to visit a DPS office.” 

The partnership is intended to help provide more test locations across Oklahoma to open appointments to more people. 

“The initial phase of the project will be to pilot the Class D driver and motorcycle license exams through our approved test site at Moore Norman Technology Center,” said Jennifer Palacio, CTTC assessment manager. “Once the pilot phase is complete, we will use our existing infrastructure of test sites located in numerous technology centers across the state to provide easier access for those needing to take the written exams.” 

Individuals who have taken the exam through an approved CTTC test site will take their results to one of the driver’s license exam site locations to complete the application process. 

CTTC has added information to its website about testing at Moore Norman Technology Center during the pilot phase. Once that phase is completed, CTTC will update the website to include information about other locations that will offer the driver’s license and motorcycle license written exams. 

More information is available on the CTTC website at https://bit.ly/2NffmmL

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 Department of Public Safety 

Since its formation in 1937, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has grown into a multi-service safety and law enforcement organization. DPS is led by the commissioner of public safety, who is appointed by the governor, with the approval of the Oklahoma State Senate. The department is staffed by nearly 1,500 civilian and uniformed employees across the state. The Driver License Services division is responsible for new and renewed driver’s licenses. This division also manages the suspension, denial, cancellation, revocation or disqualification of individual driving privileges and the enforcement of driver’s financial responsibility laws and the state’s compulsory insurance law. 

Oklahoma Masons donate $200,000 in scholarships for CareerTech, OU nurse refresher course

Nurses who want to return to work through Oklahoma’s nurse refresher course can now get assistance, thanks to a donation from the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma.

The foundation has donated $200,000, which translates into 100 scholarships of $2,000 each — the cost of the revised nurse refresher program. Applications for the scholarships will open Feb. 10.

“We thought it was a great opportunity to do something we all desperately need,” said John Logan, MCFO executive director. “We thought it sounded like a wonderful program.”

“We are very thankful and grateful for the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma’s donation,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “The $200,000 donation will make a great difference in the lives of nurses wanting to return to work and in the lives of the patients they will be caring for.”

The statewide nurse refresher course is part of a partnership between the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Ten Oklahoma CareerTech technology centers offer the course for nurses who do not have an active license but want to return to practice.

The program includes a self-paced, online nursing theoretical course, a nursing skills lab provided by Oklahoma CareerTech technology centers and a clinical experience that will show students’ clinical competency. The revisions have lowered the number of hours required for students who achieve baseline competency. The fees have also been lowered, from $2,599 to $2,000.

“We are specifically doing this in response to the COVID surge and the need for more nurses to be used at the bedside and for replacing nurses who have moved to hospitals from clinics and other nursing positions,” said Lara Morris, Oklahoma CareerTech health careers education state program manager.

Logan said he read about the effort to get more nurses back into the field in the Oklahoma CareerTech Director’s Memo, a newsletter that goes out once a week. He was afraid, however, that even the reduced cost might prevent some nurses from taking the course and returning to work.

He took the issue to the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma, the charitable arm of the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, and the foundation decided to make the donation. Part of the appeal was that the technology centers participating in the program are spread out across Oklahoma.

“We’ve got lodges from the Panhandle to Broken Bow. Members like to know that when we’re giving charitable assistance to organizations in the state that we’re not leaving out their areas of the state,” Logan explained. “We try really hard to look for opportunities to do things that benefit communities all over the state.”

Technology centers offering the course are Autry Tech, Canadian Valley Tech, Green Country Tech, Kiamichi Tech, Meridian Tech, Metro Tech, Moore Norman Tech, Pontotoc Tech, Southern Tech and Tulsa Tech. Scholarship applications will be taken at the participating technology centers beginning Feb. 10.

More information about the nurse refresher course can be found on the Oklahoma CareerTech website. Information about reinstating an RN or LPN license can be found on the Oklahoma Board of Nursing website.

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, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 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.

February is Career and Technical Education Appreciation Month

During a year of pandemic changes, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education kept its focus on helping Oklahomans succeed while adding new programs in response to new needs.

The Oklahoma CareerTech System is celebrating CareerTech Education Month in February. Gov. Kevin Stitt recently issued a proclamation declaring this month as Career and Technical Education Appreciation Month in Oklahoma.

“Oklahoma CareerTech continues to deliver high quality education despite the pandemic. We remain laser-focused on the multiple career paths for students and meeting the workforce needs of businesses and industries in the state,” said ODCTE State Director Marcie Mack. “The work of Oklahoma CareerTech across the state provides meaningful results for Oklahoma’s economy.”

Oklahoma CareerTech expanded its programs in response to the pandemic as it continued its focus on filling skills gaps for both employees and employers in the state.

ODCTE worked with partners to launch several new educational initiatives in 2020, including a new energy career cluster to promote the benefits of pursuing careers in energy; online meat processing courses to fill a workforce shortage in the meat processing industry; and a mobile meat processing laboratory.

ODCTE worked with the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing to revamp a nurse refresher course to get nurses back in the field faster. In addition, technology center nursing students across the state assisted with COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics.

The CareerTech Testing Center worked with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association to offer certification exams for veterinary assistants and with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to use the Oklahoma Peace Officer Screening and Selection Exam developed by CTTC for OHP Academy applicants.

Oklahoma CareerTech also launched VirtualJobShadow.com to introduce more state students — more than 16,000 in 20 PK-12 and technology center districts — to nontraditional careers. The platform is ideal for schools and students doing virtual and distance learning because it is video-based.

When Oklahoma’s schools pivoted to distance learning in the spring of 2020, instructors in the 29 technology center districts and the 399 PK-12 school districts with CareerTech courses developed ways to help their students continue learning to finish the year. ODCTE offered additional instructional resources and guidance to tech centers and schools to help them with distance learning.

CareerTech students and teachers across the state also donated medical supplies, masks and more to help frontline pandemic workers.

Employees in CareerTech’s 13 skills centers, which operate in Oklahoma’s correctional and juvenile detention facilities, developed new processes that will better serve graduates; reduce barriers to reintegration; and improve communication, teamwork and probability of graduate success.

During a year of pivots caused by the pandemic, Oklahoma CareerTech was able to stay true to its mission of preparing Oklahomans to succeed in the workplace, in education and in life and expand its offerings to meet new needs in new ways.

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, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 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.

CareerTech by the Numbers in Fiscal Year 2020

  • 399 PK-12 school districts with 1,399 teachers and 132,532 enrollments
  • 29 technology center districts with 58 campuses, 1,306 teachers and 310,285 enrollments
  • 37 percent of sixth through 12th grade and almost half of ninth through 12th grade students enrolled in CareerTech courses: agricultural education; business and information technology education; family and consumer sciences education; health careers education; marketing education; science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and trade and industrial education.
  • More than 86,000 students in co-curricular CareerTech student organizations: FFA; Family, Careers and Community Leaders of America; SkillsUSA; Technology Student Association; Business Professionals of America; HOSA; and DECA
  • 18,685 industry-endorsed certificates earned
  • 13 skills centers with 35 teachers and 1,541 enrollments
  • 32 adult basic education providers at 111 sites serving 10,768 students
  • 297 students earning high school diplomas in dropout recovery program
  • 7,295 industries served by business and industry training
  • 1,767 new jobs with training from ODCTE Business and Industry Services Division
  • $390 million secured by state companies in government contracts with help from Oklahoma Procurement Technical Assistance Center

CareerTech Champions

Nathan Dial – Pontotoc Technology Center

Dragster races to the front of the classroom.

Then: His dad taught him self-reliance and independence at an early age. Nathan Dial said the two of them worked on go-karts and lawnmowers before his dad started teaching him about cars. When Dial was 14 years old, he built his own dragster. After that, he was hooked.

Dial received his formal automotive training at Pontotoc Technology Center, taking classes while working at a car dealership. He said he had barely started his coursework at the tech center when he decided he wanted to teach there. He carried out that dream nearly two decades later.

A 2000 graduate of PTC, Dial continued his education at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology’s GM automotive program in Okmulgee. He was the youngest person in Oklahoma to receive the prestigious GM World Class certification.

After college, he began building his automotive shop while he taught small engine repair at Latta Schools. After 11 years in the public school classroom, Dial saw the opening he’d been waiting for – his perfect job.

He signed on as an automotive instructor at PTC about 18 years after he enrolled as a student there. He said the job is all about the opportunity to make a difference.

“I get to invest in the lives of our students in such a way that it probably changes the paths of their families for generations,” he said.

NOW: Dial’s students aren’t the only auto workers he oversees. He and his wife own Double D Automotive near Ada, Oklahoma, and manage a staff of six.

Dial said he enjoys building cars, but he enjoys building futures even more.

“I’ve had students who never even thought about going to college receive a $50,000 scholarship through our Hot Rodders program,” he said.

“I get to see their lives changed forever when they pursue fulfilling careers that happen to pay very well.”

Nathan Dial, auto instructor and shop owner

Oklahoma CareerTech part of effort to help nurses return to field faster

A change in an Oklahoma nurse refresher course could help supply more nurses at a time when they are critically needed.

The statewide nurse refresher course is part of a partnership between the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Nine Oklahoma CareerTech technology centers offer the course for nurses who do not have an active license but want to return to practice.

Oklahoma’s critical nursing shortage worsened in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for nurses. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who do not have active licenses to practice in Oklahoma must complete the refresher course before they return to the field — or in some cases begin a nursing career. The course is designed for those who have left the field and for those who never took their board exams.

The program includes a self-paced, online nursing theoretical course, a nursing skills lab provided by Oklahoma CareerTech technology centers and a clinical experience that will show students’ clinical competency.

Previously students had to complete 80 hours and complete the skills lab and the clinical rotation separately. Now, the two parts have been combined, and students must complete only 40 hours if they achieve baseline competency. Students who are not successful within the first 40 hours may need to complete in-person clinical rotations.

Students can also save time in the online course by showing what they know; those who don’t pass chapter tests will have to review the content, but those who pass can move on, said Lara Morris, Oklahoma CareerTech health careers education state program manager.

“We are specifically doing this in response to the COVID surge and the need for more nurses to be used at the bedside and for replacing nurses who have moved to hospitals from clinics and other nursing positions,” Morris said.

The cost for the program was reduced further by making the clinical rotation virtual with a simulation resource designed to enhance clinical judgment. The virtual clinical portion of the course will save students money, Morris said, because they will not have to pay for travel to clinicals, uniforms, background checks and vaccine requirements.

“The hope is to streamline the process while saving the student time and money,” Morris said.

Technology centers offering the course are Autry Tech, Canadian Valley Tech, Green Country Tech, Kiamichi Tech, Meridian Tech, Metro Tech, Moore Norman Tech, Southern Tech and Tulsa Tech.

More information about the nurse refresher course can be found on the Oklahoma CareerTech website. Information about reinstating an RN or LPN license can be found on the Oklahoma Board of Nursing website.

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, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 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.

Caddo Kiowa Tech students help with vaccine clinics

Caddo Kiowa Technology Center practical nursing students assisted the Caddo County Health Department in administering COVID-19 vaccines to Caddo County first responders, police and firefighters.

Practical nursing students at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center have helped the Caddo County Health Department with five COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

Students were asked to volunteer on their winter break. They have helped vaccinate first responders, police, firefighters and people who are 65 years old and older.

In two weeks, the students helped vaccinate more than 3,000 people. The clinics gave them the opportunity to receive real world training during a pandemic.

CareerTech Champions

Heather Yazdanipour – Metro Technology Centers

An emergency led Heather Yazdanipour to a career as an EMT.

Then: Her arm was crushed in an industrial accident, and she was unable to return to her current job. Heather Yazdanipour said her employer offered her the opportunity for vocational education through CareerTech.

Before the accident, Yazdanipourwas pursuing an art degree. Everyone in her family worked in the medical field, so when she was forced to reevaluate her career, she decided to follow their leads. She said the paramedic program at Metro Technology Centers sounded interesting. She enrolled and said she quickly “got the medical bug.”

After completing the paramedic training at Metro Tech, Yazdanipour

  • Worked for an ambulance service in Oklahoma City.
  • Taught EMT basic at Metro Tech.
  • Worked her way up to teaching the paramedic program.

Now: Yazdanipour used her Metro Tech training to create a paramedic program at EMSA. She continued to work her way up and is now in charge of EMSA’s disaster management program, with divisions in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Related content: A gift that will keep giving to Oklahoma’s health care system

Northeast Tech gets Google grant

Northeast Technology Center was recently awarded a $55,000 grant by Google for its virtual welding training project.

The donation will help Northeast Tech use virtual tools to improve the hands-on learning process for students in the welding program, said Roger Crutchfield, superintendent. For more, about the grant, visit the News on 6 website.

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