CareerTech benefits sixth- through 12th graders

CentMidSch_0013rsMore than a third of Oklahoma students in sixth through 12th grades are a part of the Oklahoma CareerTech System.

In 391 of Oklahoma’s comprehensive school districts in FY17, 37 percent of sixth- through 12th-grade students — and almost half of ninth- through 12th-grade students — enrolled in CareerTech courses.

What did the more than 139,000 students study? 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.

CareerTech teachers integrate rigorous academics in accessible ways for students by giving them hands-on learning opportunities. Students conduct laboratory experiments; build and repair robots and other technical equipment and machines; create and operate businesses; create marketing plans; build and repair computer hardware and software; learn animal husbandry, crop production and agriscience; write, speak and create presentations; and do so much more.

All of these activities allow the students to explore and experience potential careers while they are gaining knowledge and developing skills to continue their education and begin their careers. They don’t just learn facts; they learn how to operate in the world after graduation.

In addition to academics, more than 88,000 students learned leadership skills as members of co-curricular CareerTech student organizations: FFA; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; SkillsUSA; Technology Student Association; Business Professionals of America; HOSA; and DECA.

In fiscal year 2017, Oklahoma CareerTech had 1,319 teachers in comprehensive schools. These teachers earn certifications above the standard Oklahoma teaching certification and spend extra time in CareerTech-provided professional development so that they have the resources they need to educate their students. Many of them spend vacation hours — spring break, for instance — working with students at events or helping them prepare for competitions.

These teachers and their programs also have the opportunity to receive CareerTech lottery grants to buy equipment to enrich classrooms. In fiscal year 2017, Oklahoma CareerTech dispersed $1.6 million to comprehensive schools in lottery grants.

The money comes from the Oklahoma Lottery Education Trust Fund. CareerTech has a competitive grant process, and schools with winning proposals are reimbursed for their equipment purchases. CareerTech also provides scholarships through lottery funds to teachers who are continuing their education.

Oklahoma CareerTech’s teachers and programs in comprehensive schools are answering the call to ensure our students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful and to ensure the future success of our state.

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