The 9th edition of CIMC‘s web book (previously called Best of the Web) includes apps for both instructors and students that enhance the classroom experience, offer avenues for professional development, and assist instructors with student engagement and enhancement activities. This edition includes resources for CareerTech Student Organizations; Teaching, Advising & Career Information; Creativity; and Digital Tools, as well as websites for each career cluster.
Websites, Apps, and More can be downloaded for FREE, or purchased in packages of 10.
Oklahoma CareerTech is a key player in economic development and has a part in several statewide initiatives to help Oklahoma’s economy grow.
CareerTech has taken roles in Oklahoma Works, New Skills for Youth, Launch Oklahoma, Earn and Learn, the Governor’s Workforce Council and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The goal of all is to equip Oklahomans for careers and provide employees for business and industry in the state.
Those goals, of course, fall right in line with what Oklahoma CareerTech is about, so it makes sense that we partner with other state entities in these efforts.
CareerTech works with state agencies in the areas of health, education, corrections, commerce, rehabilitation, veterans affairs, employment and more, along with regional business leaders across the state, including chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, Native American tribes and other community-based organizations, to achieve these goals.
Thanks to the efforts of everyone in the CareerTech System, we are ahead of our goal to increase the number of CareerTech education industry credentials to 13,806 by 2018. In FY2017, individuals earned more than 15,000 industry-recognized certifications and credentials.
But we — and our partners — are not stopping because the need for these workers is growing and will continue to grow. By 2025, most Oklahoma jobs will require some kind of postsecondary credential, certificate or degree.
Launch Oklahoma’s goal is to increase the number of Oklahomans ages 25 to 64 with education or training beyond high school to 70 percent by 2025. Oklahoma CareerTech is naturally a part of that effort. Through 391 K-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 Skills Centers campuses and 31 adult basic education service providers, we provide opportunities for adults and high school and middle school students to obtain education and engage in meaningful careers aligned with individual goals and industry demands.
Oklahoma CareerTech is also involved in New Skills for Youth, a grant through the Oklahoma State Department of Education, and Earn and Learn, a work-based learning program. We are working with these agencies and businesses to help Oklahoma students become productive citizens.
CareerTech has representatives on the Governor’s Workforce Council committees and subcommittees dedicated to supporting students and businesses. Goals include individualized career and academic plans for students in prekindergarten through 12th grade, expanding character education, creating a Career-Ready School designation and ensuring that Oklahoma’s education system is delivering workers who have the skills employers need.
Helping students discover careers they love and helping them learn the skills they need to enter those careers is vital to developing Oklahoma’s economy — as is providing employees with the skills that business and industry need now and will need in the future.
Accomplishing these tasks requires cooperation and effort from multiple entities. Oklahoma CareerTech is an integral partner in moving these efforts forward. More importantly, Oklahoma CareerTech helps Oklahomans be successful.
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.
THEN: A homeless high school dropout, living in a refrigerator box and working at Sonic. A counselor at Norman North High School learned of Porsha’s plight and connected her with an independent homeless shelter. She moved into an apartment, went back to school and saved enough money for a dilapidated car to drive to and from school. When that car broke down, she taught herself how to repair it. That motivated her to enroll in Moore Norman’s automotive technician training program after graduation. After completing that program she:
Earned her ASE certification.
Was referred to the aviation maintenance technician program at Metro Technology Centers.
Learned about assistance programs that would help her pay living expenses while she trained at Metro Tech.
NOW: A certified aviation maintenance technician, Porsha works at Tinker Air Force Base and is an instructor at Metro Technology Centers’ Aviation Campus. One of her process improvement ideas is already saving Tinker $2.5 million annually, which she considers a small way of paying back for all she has received from CareerTech and others.
Oklahoma has 1,670,046 jobs by industry, and the number is projected to grow 7.8 percent to 1,946,040 by 2025. This aggressive growth projection reinforces the need for all Oklahomans to have the skills and knowledge necessary to be productively engaged in the workplace. The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides programs and services that support Oklahoma’s job growth for each of the key business ecosystems identified by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
The specific needs of the current workforce and the workforce projected to exist in 2025 indicate a majority of workers will need certificates, credentials or associate degrees to maintain the growth of Oklahoma’s economy. Business and industry require and will continue to require a qualified workforce.
What is a credential?
An education- and work-related credential, which could include a license or certificate, can be defined as a verification of an individual’s qualification or competence issued by a third party with the relevant authority to issue such credentials (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010).
To ensure an educated and skilled workforce, many industries and educational entities have successfully developed and implemented industry-recognized credentials to connect individuals to the skills they need to enter into and advance in jobs. Many credentials are stackable, meaning they can build on previous competencies and skills through an individual’s lifetime.
Awarded upon the successful completion of a brief course of study, usually one year or less but at times longer.
Upon completion of a course of study, a certificate does not require any further action to retain.
Awarded by a professional organization or other nongovernmental body.
Is not legally required to work in an occupation.
Requires demonstrating competency to do a specific job, often through an examination process.
Awarded by a governmental licensing agency.
Gives legal authority to work in an occupation.
Requires meeting predetermined criteria, such as having a degree or passing a state-administered exam.
An award or title conferred upon an individual for the completion of a program or courses of study over multiple years at postsecondary education institutions.
Through ODCTE leadership, agency operations, dissemination of best practices and multiple delivery arms, Oklahoma CareerTech strives to increase student educational attainment of industry credentials. (In FY16, Oklahoma students earned 15,152 industry credentials.)
The value of credentials
It is imperative that the educational process focus on successful outcomes that provide individuals with the skills and abilities to enter the workforce and/ or enter postsecondary education. For example, completion of industry-recognized certifications and credentials enables individuals to work in highwage, high-demand occupations. The certifications/ credentials that students receive are an essential component to decreasing the educational gap that blocks a more vibrant Oklahoma economy. Oklahoma’s future hinges on business and industry’s ability to successfully compete in a global economy. A highly skilled workforce is essential for success in today’s challenging business environment.
To further demonstrate the importance of credentials, the 2016 national data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed employed people were more likely to hold an active certification or license (25.0 percent) than unemployed people (12.5 percent) or those who were not in the labor force (6.0 percent). People who held certifications or licenses also had a lower unemployment rate than those who did not (2.5 percent versus 5.6 percent, respectively). Workers with certifications or licenses also earned 35.0 percent more than those who did not hold such credentials ($1,032 versus $765 respectively).
Elementary, middle school, junior high, high school and technology centers chose from 28 concurrent sessions with topics including ICAP, OK Career Guide, Oklahoma Promise, student trauma, drug trends in Oklahoma, engagement strategies and elementary career awareness. Some sessions were livestreamed to allow further access and can be found at Conference Playlist.
Alton Carter, author of “The Boy Who Carried Bricks,” which won the 2016 Oklahoma Book Award, and “Aging Out,” gave the keynote speech. Carter’s books are about his life’s journey from foster care through adulthood.
Oklahoma CareerTech’s online career development education system, OK Career Guide, has expanded to include opportunities for businesses and soon will expand to include opportunities for younger students.
CareerTech launched OK Career Guide in 2015 to help students explore careers, pathways and educational opportunities.
OK Career Guide is customized for Oklahoma and is designed to help students of all ages discover interests and skills and the careers to which they can lead. They can also find scholarship and education opportunities.
Schools and technology centers can also use the website to discover what their students’ top interests and skills are. They can use that information to host events promoting areas of interest or to promote specific industries.
In August OK Career Guide added a component for business and industry, Connect 2 Business. The online communication tool fosters community development by connecting businesses to students, job seekers and schools. C2B, which businesses can use for free, can target students with matching career interests and help businesses offer services to schools.
With C2B, businesses can create profiles that secondary and adult students will be able to search. The profiles will include information about the businesses – including their missions and contact information – and services the businesses can provide to teachers and students: speakers, tours, equipment and job and career fairs.
C2B will also match business employment opportunities with students who have the right skills and interests. Businesses can list several kinds of opportunities: internships, externships, job shadowing, apprenticeships, full-time employment and part-time employment.
Oklahoma CareerTech will soon launch a pilot of the elementary platform in OK Career Guide. The pilot will focus on two modules, energy and health careers, for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Students can learn about careers through game-based missions in which they explore, learn and solve problems and build their career awareness foundations. This pilot group will help Kuder Career Planning System and OK Career Guide by providing user feedback for a statewide rollout later in 2018.
Oklahoma CareerTech’s vision is to secure Oklahoma’s future by developing a world-class workforce. Its mission is to prepare Oklahomans to succeed in the workplace, in education and in life.
OK Career Guide fits well into both CareerTech’s vision and its mission. It is just one of the ways Oklahoma CareerTech delivers education, training and partnership opportunities to businesses, schools and individuals in our state.
Offenders learn skills in several areas, including transportation, distribution and logistics; construction; machining; auto service; heating and air conditioning; and business and information technology. These skills — and others — allow released offenders to transition successfully from the correctional system to the workplace, to support themselves and their families and to become taxpayers who are helping to support the Oklahoma economy.
In fiscal year 2017, the Skills Centers School System served 992 full-time students and 683 short-term students. During that year, 88.52 percent completers received jobs or continued their education.
Skills Centers instructors teach offenders the skills they need to get and keep jobs and live successfully in a community. The classes and instructors prepare the offenders to be productive, positive and professional citizens, according to one instructor at a juvenile facility.
Kent Roof, a CareerTech Skills Centers regional director, explains it as “a holistic approach to making our students successful.” And it is.
Oklahoma CareerTech Skills Centers instructors want the students to learn job skills and life skills, to be successful and not return to incarceration in the future. That’s where the strength of the Skills Centers lies: helping offenders develop the skills they need and helping them supply proof to potential employers of their skills and the changes they’ve made.
The Skills Centers help offenders prove their abilities through technical certifications and the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate, which shows abilities in solving problems, thinking critically, reading, applying information, using mathematics and other skills.
One former Eddie Warrior Correctional Center inmate explained that finding a job is hard because “employers want proof that you’ve changed, and when you’re first coming out of prison there’s no way to offer that.”
She earned a transportation, distribution and logistics certification while in the center and now works for the Cherokee Nation, counseling women who have backgrounds similar to hers. She’s also taking college classes to further her education.
Another former Eddie Warrior inmate went to work for a gas and electric company, earning $69 an hour. Her Skills Center education also helped her learn budgeting skills that helped her buy her first house without needing a loan.
That’s Oklahoma CareerTech’s mission: to prepare Oklahomans to succeed in the workplace, in education and in life. The Skills Centers School System delivers that mission to those who need a second chance and helps them achieve it.