Monthly Archives: March 2019

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