Author Archives: OkCareerTechDelivers

Oklahoma CareerTech hosts virtual job fair

Technology center students planning for life after graduation and businesses looking for new employees will be able to meet virtually, thanks to Oklahoma CareerTech’s virtual job fair.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 7. Its purpose is to unite thousands of graduating students with hundreds of employers to launch careers to power Oklahoma’s economy.

“Connecting students with industry is part of what makes Oklahoma CareerTech such a powerful system in Oklahoma. It is vital that we continue to strive diligently to make those connections to help students achieve success and to provide businesses with the workforces they need to compete globally,” said Dr. Marcie Mack, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education state director.

Oklahoma’s 29 technology centers have traditionally hosted local job fairs to meet the needs of their graduating students, but the global pandemic introduced complications.

“The solution required outside the box thinking and collaboration of CareerTech professionals throughout the state to provide a first of its kind opportunity,” said A.J. Crowell, career development specialist at Oklahoma CareerTech. “The pandemic provided a surprise opportunity to unify as a CareerTech System and plan a bold new approach to connecting students and industry on a statewide scale.”

Employers and students can meet in group or one-on-one settings during the virtual job fair. Students will be able to upload resumes and portfolios to show prospective employers.

More than 20 of Oklahoma CareerTech’s technology centers and dozens of school districts from across Oklahoma have recruited local businesses to participate in the event, Crowell said. In addition, several state agencies and partner organizations have signed up to meet with CareerTech graduates.

The virtual job fair will allow businesses to connect with students from all over the state and allow students to explore more opportunities as well.

Registration is required for the virtual job fair for both students and businesses. More information for both is available on the CareerTech website at http://okcareer.tech/jobfair.

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 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.

Partnership provides jobs and homes for underprivileged Oklahomans

A newly formed collaboration among Oklahoma CareerTech and several state and local organizations means help is on the way once again for some of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable residents.  

ROAD Tools Trailer

Low-income homeowners in Oklahoma have been disproportionately affected by extreme weather events over the past few years. Since 2000, severe weather that caused significant property damage has resulted in 37 presidential emergency declarations. Many of the affected homeowners cannot afford to make the repairs needed to make their homes habitable and safe.

A nonprofit organization called Recovering Oklahomans After Disaster Inc. provides free home repairs to disaster survivors who cannot recover on their own. ROAD provides project management to oversee volunteers who make needed repairs. With the COVID-19 pandemic, those volunteer groups are unavailable. In 2020, ROAD looked outside the box to develop a different kind of volunteer labor.

Under its new Vocational Training Apprenticeship Program, ROAD collaborated with Green Country Workforce, Oklahoma CareerTech and the Galt Foundation, a nonprofit employment company, to create an innovative pilot home repair program. This collaboration facilitates much-needed home repairs for struggling homeowners and also provides training and job experience for individuals who have barriers to employment.

“We knew we couldn’t wait for the pandemic to end before we helped those who needed home repairs. This program brings a new kind of labor into disaster work, with great outcomes for all those involved,” said Chad Detwiler, president and CEO of ROAD.

For the pilot program, Green Country Workforce (formerly Workforce Tulsa) recruited six individuals from a pool of participants in its program. The Galt Foundation served as the employer of record for the paid apprenticeships, providing general liability and workers’ compensation insurance.

Matt Litterell, director of business and industry services at Tulsa Technology Center, one of Oklahoma CareerTech’s 29 tech center districts, said the school provided classroom space as well as competency certification in each of the construction disciplines included in ROAD’s apprenticeship training.

“We provided OSHA 10 and forklift training,” Litterell said. “ROAD provided additional classroom instruction, including basic tools use and safety.”

After two weeks of classroom training, participants began on-the-job training, repairing the homes of disaster survivors. They learned roofing, drywall, insulation, flooring, siding, trim, painting and fixture installation.

“This program is a win-win for all partners involved, while providing a skilled workforce for employers,” said Oklahoma CareerTech Director Marcie Mack.

Career Tech’s Skills Centers instructors spent several days outfitting one of ROAD’s new tool trailers with shelving to keep the tools secure and organized en route to the project sites. The CareerTech printing plant created a wrap for the trailer.

Wesley Mitchell of Green Country Workforce said the pilot has been a resounding success, and the program was designed to be replicated statewide.

“We’re looking to expand the program,” he said. “Expansion to the Northeast Workforce Board is under development.”

Detwiler added, “The program design will lend itself to working with other agencies, and we are excited to see where it will lead.”

Oklahoma’s first statewide Making Schools Work virtual conference planned

Registration is open for Oklahoma’s first statewide Making Schools Work virtual conference March 30-31.

Oklahoma CareerTech and the Southern Regional Education Board will host the two-day event, which will showcase best practices and strategies being implemented by high schools and technology centers across the state.

Sessions will focus on leadership for continuous improvement, aligned curriculum, engaging instruction, career pathways and systems of support. High Schools and Tech Centers That Work State Coordinator Twila Green said the sessions are open to anyone looking to enhance their teaching strategies and enlarge their professional circle.

“We look forward to sharing strategies, struggles and successes during two days of learning, collaborating and networking,” Green said.

Many of the state conference presenters have spoken at the national SREB conference. Joe Hendershott, author of three books on the effects of trauma on learning and behaviors and working with wounded students, will share his research and practical experiences as a teacher and administrator. Hendershott founded Hope 4 the Wounded.

The conference is open to any employee of any educational entity. For more information or to register for the free conference, go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfzJq2XDQJvmMAhHoFF6gOK7ZtMBeGEkTHBSm2ePFeoK4y6YA/viewform.

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 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.

About SREB

A nonprofit, nonpartisan interstate compact, SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislators who recognized the link between education and economic vitality. SREB states are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

CareerTech Champions

Jessica Garvin – FCCLA and Red River Technology Center

Nursing home administrator gives back to her community through FCCLA

THEN: She wasn’t planning a career, she just wanted sewing skills. Jessica Garvin said she learned to sew at Marlow High School, but the family and consumer sciences education program taught her much, much more.

Garvin joined Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with family and consumer sciences. Participation in FCCLA’s job interview competitions helped Garvin

  • Speak more eloquently in public.
  • Gain leadership and management skills.
  • Become better organized.
  • Interview new employees in her job as chief operations officer at a nursing home.

She said she also met incredible, lifelong friends in FCCLA, including fellow officers, advisers and classmates.

FACSED was Garvin’s only CareerTech experience in high school, but years later she said she wishes she had enrolled in a technology center program while she was there.

“I realize now what types of opportunities I missed by not taking advantage of CareerTech education in school!” she said.

Garvin did take advantage of CareerTech’s offerings after high school, attending Red River Technology Center in Duncan to get her medication administration technician certification, part of her journey toward her long-term administrator’s licenses.

She doesn’t make her living sewing, but Garvin’s involvement with FCCLA continues today. She helps students prepare for competitive events, and she mentors them through high school.

“Giving back to my community has improved my quality of life by providing opportunities for me to pay it forward,” she said.

NOW: A University of Oklahoma graduate, Garvin is COO at Gregston’s Nursing and Rehab in Marlow, Oklahoma. As an employer, she said, she understands the value of a CareerTech background.

“We utilize CareerTech graduates every day,” she said. “So many of them are wonderful, hardworking professionals with a strong work ethic and a desire to improve the lives of the people they serve.”

“I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today without FCCLA.”
Jessica Garvin
Nursing home COO

Oklahoma CareerTech students chosen for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Two CareerTech students will represent Oklahoma during the 59th annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week.

Sean Kuehn

Sean Kuehn of Sand Springs and Julian Ober of Tulsa will join 102 other national student delegates during the first-ever fully virtual Washington Week, which will be an interactive education and leadership forum.

“We are proud to have Sean and Julian representing Oklahoma at a national level,” said Oklahoma CareerTech State Director Marcie Mack. “Their academic accomplishments and leadership exemplify student excellence and CareerTech’s mission to promote career awareness.”

Kuehn, a senior at Charles Page High School, is the national president of Technology Student Association, a former state president of the Oklahoma Technology Student Association and a national champion in Prepared Speech. TSA is a CareerTech student organization affiliated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

Kuehn serves on Mack’s Student Advisory Committee and Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s Student Advisory Council. He has been a member of the Gold Pride Marching Band and National Honor Society and has been captain of the academic team. After graduation, he plans to study political science at Columbia University.

Julian Ober

“OKTSA is proud of Sean and his accomplishments both at the state and national level,” said Tami Redus, Oklahoma TSA state adviser. “He has been a dedicated member since middle school and continues to make the organization proud.”

Ober, a senior at Union High School, is a member of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, the CTSO affiliated with family and consumer sciences education. She has served as a district president in the northeast region of Oklahoma FCCLA.

She is also a member of the Superintendent Student Council Advisory Board and the Student Athlete Advisory Council, is captain of the tennis team and has served as the co-facilitator of the Youth Philanthropy Initiative. She plans to study international affairs and women’s gender and sexuality studies in college.

“Oklahoma FCCLA is incredibly proud of Julian and the leadership she brings not only to her school but also to her community and state,” said Brittani Phillips, Oklahoma FCCLA state adviser. “FCCLA empowers students to sharpen their leadership skills, and she is a fantastic representation of FCCLA. She has embraced our tagline and is showing everyone that FCCLA is the Ultimate Leadership Experience.”

During the program week, Kuehn and Ober will attend online meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a Supreme Court justice, Cabinet agency leaders and members of national media outlets.

Kuehn and Ober will each receive a $10,000 scholarship for undergraduate study for participating in the program. They were selected by Hofmeister after a rigorous application process.

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 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.

About the United States Senate Youth Program

The U.S. Senate created the USSYP in 1962. It has been sponsored by the Senate and funded by The Hearst Foundations since its creation. Its mission, according to its website, “is to provide a yearly opportunity for selected students to gain an in-depth view of the Senate and the federal government overall as well as a deeper understanding of the interrelationship of the legislative, judicial and executive branches.

Oklahoma CareerTech Students, Instructor Win NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

Nine Oklahoma CareerTech students and one instructor have received the National Center for Women & Information Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing.

Olga Caulfield, pre-engineering instructor at Moore Norman Technology Center received the Educator Award.

High School Award winners were Emily Dangott, Central Technology Center, Kiefer; Camryn Grabeal, Caddo Kiowa Technology Center, Apache; Madelyn McDonald and Lauren Smith, both Moore Norman Technology Center and both of Moore; Sage Abbot, Moore Norman Technology Center; and Skyler Wright, Southern Technology Center, Ardmore.

Kaylin Charlton, Moore Norman Technology Center, Moore, was an honorable mention recipient for the High School Award.

High School Awards rising stars were Moore Norman Technology Center students Olivia Braley, Norman, and Hannah Sanders and Hana Tafolla, both of Moore.

Award recipients were selected from more than 4,200 applicants from all 50 U.S. states; Washington, D.C.; Guam; Puerto Rico; the U.S. Virgin Islands; U.S. overseas military bases; and Canada. Selections were based on outstanding aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing as demonstrated by computing experience, computing-related activities, leadership experience, tenacity in the face of barriers to access and plans for post-secondary education.

“Encouraging young women’s interest in technology careers is critical: Our workforce needs their creativity and unique perspectives to produce technology that is as broad and innovative as the population it serves,” said NCWIT CEO and co-founder Lucy Sanders.

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 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.

About NCWIT

NCWIT is a nonprofit community that convenes, equips and unites change leader organizations to increase the influential and meaningful participation of girls and women — at the intersections of race/ethnicity, class, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status and other historically marginalized identities — in the field of computing, particularly in terms of innovation and development. Find out more at www.ncwit.org.

CareerTech Champions

Jackson Cejda – Moore Norman Technology Center

From undecided to up-and-coming, this software engineer signs on with Tesla.

Then: An upperclassman at Moore High School suggested his freshman friend try the pre-engineering program at Moore Norman Technology Center. Jackson Cejda said at that time he had no idea what he wanted to do after high school, but he’d heard good things about the program, so he took his friend’s advice and signed up.

Now that he has completed the program, Cejda said he uses the skills he gained to guide his professional development. In pre-engineering, he developed

  • Project-based thinking abilities. Cejda said for the first time, he was able to look at problems from end to end.
  • Critical problem-solving skills.
  • Interpersonal professional skills.

“The skills I learned in pre-engineering are applicable every day of my life,” he said. “In my schoolwork, projects and recently in the hiring process for a full-time job.

Cejda said at Moore Norman he learned various professional skills, including how to work on projects as a team, and how to prepare project reports.

“I had fantastic mentors that spanned over four years,” he said. “I was challenged by the projects, and I came out with real actionable skills I could apply to my personal and professional life.”

Now: Cejda attends the University of Oklahoma and plans to graduate in 2021. He works in OU’s Tom Love Innovation Hub, a digital fabrication lab, where he assists in prototyping for university research projects. He has accepted a job as a software engineer for Tesla in Austin, Texas, after graduation. In his new job, Cejda will help build and test Tesla’s new generation of vehicles.

“The pre-engineering program helped me figure out what I truly wanted to do with my career and empowered me with the ability to actually get it done.”

Jackson Cejda, future software engineer at Tesla

School counselors gather virtually for annual conference

Oklahoma school counselors will gather virtually March 9-10 to connect with each other and develop their knowledge and skills during the 17th annual For Counselors Only Conference.

More than 600 counselors from technology centers and prekindergarten-12th grade schools are expected to attend the free virtual conference, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The conference will have 45 breakout sessions and an opening and closing speaker. It will include live sessions during the two days, along with prerecorded and on-demand sessions available for participants to view at any time.

Although the conference is called For Counselors Only, it will host a variety of educators, including teachers, counselors, administrators, disabilities specialists, college and career readiness coordinators, mental health providers, instructional coaches and more, said Shawna Nord, academic coordinator in the ODCTE Counseling and Career Development Division.

It will include sessions on OK Career Guide, individual career academic plans, academic updates, interventions, mental health care, crisis preparedness and response, e-transcripts, financial literacy and advanced placement.

“For 17 years our conference has provided counselors the opportunity to connect and network with the Oklahoma school counseling communities. They take this day to focus on effective programs, professional advocacy and the tools they need to provide results showing the impact of school counseling programs,” Nord said.

Rhett Laubach, owner of YourNextSpeaker, will deliver the keynote address. He will focus on tools to help attendees rediscover energy, motivation and the reason why they do what they do, he said.

For more information or to register, visit https://whova.com/web/couns_202102/.

CareerTech students produce work-based learning videos

Eleven groups of Oklahoma CareerTech students from three technology centers recently earned money for their programs by showing the benefits of work-based learning.

The students participated in a student work-based learning video contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Each group produced a video sharing the benefits they have received from participating in work-based learning.

“The Fall 2020 Student Work-Based Learning Video Contest was created to encourage students to share work-based learning experiences in their own words,” said H.L. Baird, Oklahoma CareerTech work-based learning liaison. “We know how powerful work-based learning can be for providing the critical relevance that supports the academic and technical skills students learn in their CareerTech programs. And we know how powerful the voice of students are to other students.”

Each entry earned either $250 or $500 for the students’ programs. Entries for the contest came from Mid-America Technology Center, Moore Norman Technology Center and Tulsa Technology Center:

  • MATC Health Careers Explorer Program, “Experiencing Healthcare First Hand.”
  • MATC Veterinary Assistant Program, “Making Connections Working With Wildlife.”
  • MATC Veterinary Assistant Program, “Haz Tu Futuro Hoy (Make Your Future Today.”
  • MATC Health Careers Explorer Program, “A Career In Caring.”
  • MNTC Web Design Program, “MNTC Web Design.”
  • MATC Horticulture Technician Program, “Petal Pushers.”
  • MATC Veterinary Assistant Program, “For Those With A Heart – Experiencing Work-Based Learning With The Wildcare Foundation.”
  • MATC Veterinary Assistant Program, “Every Animal Large Or Small You Can Health Them All.”
  • Tulsa Tech TV Production, “TV Production With CareerTech #1.”
  • Tulsa Tech TV Production, “Working Towards Success.”
  • Tulsa Tech TV Production, “TV Production With CareerTech #2.”

The videos can be seen on Oklahoma CareerTech’s YouTube channel.

Work-based learning is an integral part of the Oklahoma CareerTech System. It is a partnership between education and business to create a skilled workforce for both now and the future, Baird said.

“Connecting with professionals in a student’s chosen career field brings a wealth of insight and knowledge students can learn from. WBL allows businesses to be proactive in developing the workforce they need to be successful. Both students and businesses have the opportunity to learn about each other through WBL experiences,” he said.

To learn more about work-based learning, visit the CareerTech website or contact Baird at 405-743-6812 or h.l.baird@careertech.ok.gov.

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.

Oklahoma CareerTech, DPS partner to offer driver’s license tests

The Oklahoma CareerTech Testing Center, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, has partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to offer Class D written driver’s license and motorcycle license tests through its network of test facilities. 

CTTC, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, will begin the pilot phase of the tests at Moore Norman Technology Center. 

“The Department of Public Safety has been working nonstop on different strategies to alleviate the long lines at our offices,” said DPS Commissioner John Scully. “We are thankful that Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order allowing CareerTech testing centers to offer the knowledge (written) test to Oklahomans seeking a driver’s license. This partnership will greatly benefit our customers and allows this part of the process to be accomplished without having to visit a DPS office.” 

The partnership is intended to help provide more test locations across Oklahoma to open appointments to more people. 

“The initial phase of the project will be to pilot the Class D driver and motorcycle license exams through our approved test site at Moore Norman Technology Center,” said Jennifer Palacio, CTTC assessment manager. “Once the pilot phase is complete, we will use our existing infrastructure of test sites located in numerous technology centers across the state to provide easier access for those needing to take the written exams.” 

Individuals who have taken the exam through an approved CTTC test site will take their results to one of the driver’s license exam site locations to complete the application process. 

CTTC has added information to its website about testing at Moore Norman Technology Center during the pilot phase. Once that phase is completed, CTTC will update the website to include information about other locations that will offer the driver’s license and motorcycle license written exams. 

More information is available on the CTTC website at https://bit.ly/2NffmmL

About CareerTech Testing Center 

As a service of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the CareerTech Testing Center has provided standards and assessments for career and technology education programs since 1985. It also partners with numerous state agencies to develop and deliver examinations required for certifications and licensures. 

About Oklahoma Department of Public Safety 

Since its formation in 1937, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has grown into a multi-service safety and law enforcement organization. DPS is led by the commissioner of public safety, who is appointed by the governor, with the approval of the Oklahoma State Senate. The department is staffed by nearly 1,500 civilian and uniformed employees across the state. The Driver License Services division is responsible for new and renewed driver’s licenses. This division also manages the suspension, denial, cancellation, revocation or disqualification of individual driving privileges and the enforcement of driver’s financial responsibility laws and the state’s compulsory insurance law. 

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