Monthly Archives: January 2022

CareerTech Champions

Taylor Frech – High Plains Technology Center and DECA

Taylor Frech didn’t feel like her local high school was enough of a challenge, so she decided to try something new. She said she didn’t even know what DECA was when she signed up to join, but she soon discovered it was exactly what she needed. Frech said the CareerTech organization for students in marketing, finance, hospitality and management provided her the challenge she had been missing.

She served as state officer for two years and said the lifelong friends she made through DECA were just bonuses on top of the other benefits she garnered. She gained insight into the day-to-day operations of multiple businesses, learned how to work as part of a team, and developed effective communication skills.

Frech took marketing as an elective at High Plains Technology Center, and she attended the tech center three hours a day.

“I began to fall in love with coming to school each day,” she said, “and I found ways to challenge myself through the marketing program and DECA.”

After high school, Frech received a bachelor’s degree in restaurant, hotel and institutional management. She’s now revenue manager for Hilton’s corporate office and vice president of Hilton’s service organization, Hilton Helping Hands. Frech said she uses the skills she gained from CareerTech every day, both professionally and personally.

“I felt as though CareerTech had enabled me with years of experience that others my age did not have,” she said. “It prepared me to take on each challenge and opportunity head-on.”

CareerTech Launches Second Round of Rural STEM Program Recruitment Grants

Oklahoma CareerTech is again accepting proposals from schools and technology centers serving rural populations for grant money to recruit students into STEM programs.

Oklahoma is one of five states that received a Strategies for Attracting Students to High Quality Career Technical Education grant of $20,000 from Advance CTE. Oklahoma CareerTech awarded grants of $1,000 each to 10 schools in October and is now opening the grants to 10 more schools.

Schools and technology centers that receive the grants will run a sponsored Facebook ad focused on recruiting students into science, technology, engineering and math programs such as aerospace and construction.

Results from five of the first-round schools show the ad has reached a combined 86,360 people. The other five schools have until March to report results, said Kylie Moulton, communications and marketing coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

The grant’s objectives are to support innovative recruitment strategies; increase awareness of and interest in high quality CTE programs; and identify and develop strategies to close access and equity gaps for families historically marginalized from participation in CTE programs. It will allow rural schools access to funds and marketing materials they may not otherwise have, Moulton said.

Making students aware of the programs is an important step in helping them discover career opportunities, said Tonja Norwood, Oklahoma CareerTech STEM program manager. Most elementary and middle school students who are starting to make career decisions know only about careers family members or friends work in, she explained.

“It is critical that students are exposed to STEM hands-on curriculum that teaches a concept and immediately allows students to apply that concept,” she said.

Grant applicants must serve rural populations — defined as fewer than 50,000 residents. They also must offer STEM courses and have an official school or technology center Facebook page. Schools and technology centers who received grants in the first round are not eligible for grants in this round.

Grant application documents and instructions can be found at The deadline for submissions is Jan. 24.

About Oklahoma CareerTech

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 59 campuses, 394 PK-12 school districts, 14 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 31 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.