Monthly Archives: January 2021

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