More than 88,000 Oklahoma students learn leadership, employability and career readiness skills through CareerTech student organizations.
Oklahoma CareerTech has seven student organizations affiliated with its educational programs: Business Professionals of America, business and information technology education; DECA, marketing education; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, family and consumer sciences education; FFA, agricultural education; HOSA, health careers education; SkillsUSA, trade and industrial education; and Technology Student Association, science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Our state associations consist of more than 1,617 local chapters that align with the not-for-profit national associations.
In addition, Oklahoma has a chapter of the National Technical Honor Society, which honors excellence in workforce education. It encourages higher scholastic achievement, cultivates a desire for personal excellence and helps top students find success in today’s highly competitive workplace.
These organizations offer sixth-grade through postsecondary students the chance to meet with others with similar interests in their schools and from around the state and nation. CareerTech student organizations offer co-curricular activities and lessons that provide opportunities for personal growth, scholastic achievement and career readiness. CTSOs allow students to work on community projects, competitive events and leadership activities and connect with business and industry.
CTSOs embody the core of CareerTech education in learning by doing. Students experience leadership through leading their fellow members to complete projects and serve others. They engage in teamwork to accomplish community service projects and win competitive events. They exhibit critical thinking skills by solving problems by facing them head-on and finding a way through them.
A study at the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education at the University of Minnesota found that students who are active in CTSOs have higher grades; more academic motivation and engagement; and higher career self-efficacy and college aspirations.
Anyone can see the evidence of those findings in Oklahoma CTSO students. CareerTech student organization members encompass multiple career pathways — entrepreneurs, machinists, doctors, agronomists, welders, nurses, engineers, medical technicians, diplomats, teachers, veterinarians, CEOs, lawyers, members of the military and more. CTSOs prepare students to have career success — and lead — in any field imaginable.
Students are not the only ones who benefit from their CTSO participation. Community service is a required component of a CTSO. Members spend time serving their communities through projects like Oklahoma FFA’s Hunger Challenge, which provided more than 1 million protein sticks for hungry children in Oklahoma last year.
Oklahoma FCCLA members play a role in educating individuals on the dangers of texting while driving, promoting distraction-free driving to save lives.
Other CTSOs raise money and volunteer with the American Cancer Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and a variety of nonprofits in their own communities.
CareerTech student organizations positively affect the classroom, educational outcomes and communities while better preparing students on their career paths.