Category Archives: Business and Industry Services
Mid-America Technology Center named B&H Construction its Oklahoma Association of Technology Centers Partner for Progress.
B&H Construction, a 36-year contractor for OneGas with crews throughout Oklahoma and parts of Kansas and Texas, is a longtime partner of Mid-America tech.
Changes in the OneGas operator qualification requirements meant B&H Construction needed to train and qualify more than 220 employees. Mid-America assembled subject matter experts and professional partnerships that helped B&H lower the costs of the changes and provided a resource for the tech center to use as well.
The mutual investment allows students and employees to benefit from operator qualification training, operator qualification performance verification, polyfusion pipe welding training, leadership training, safety training and respirator fit testing (service).
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.
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.
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
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.
“I absolutely use the skills I acquired at Pontotoc Technology Center every day of my life.”
Oklahoma CareerTech’s Business and Industry Services division has the resources to guide you through the maze of government contracting to help your company grow. Assistance for small business is available to train and retool workers or train a new workforce to guarantee production from day one. The CareerTech system also provides training and resources for volunteer firefighters and short term professional development for adults.
ODCTE’s state appropriations request for fiscal year 2020 for the first regular session of the 57th Oklahoma Legislature targets narrowing Oklahoma’s skills gap through the proposed increase of $21 million that would allow CareerTech to achieve the following:
- Fund more than 130 unfunded programs and provide for 90 new programs to be added to K-12 CareerTech offerings.
- Add 12 new programs in state correctional facilities that would serve 500 to 600 more inmates.
- Increase Training for Industry Programs by 10 percent to more than 3,200 enrollments.
- Increase customized training by 10 percent to almost 300,000 enrollments.
- Increase certifications/credentials annually by 5 percent, adding almost 2,400 more during three years.
“Oklahoma has a skills gap, and CareerTech has a solution,” said Marcie Mack, ODCTE state director. “Investing in CareerTech will produce more skilled workers for existing, unfilled Oklahoma jobs. It will invigorate program offerings in our K-12 schools and technology centers. It powers training programs for Oklahoma businesses, and it gives our incarcerated students a second chance at life.”
As a part of the appropriations request, $11.8 million would go toward paying the state’s obligation to fund the required health benefit allowance. If the state funds the current requirement, Mack said, it will immediately free up that amount to be redirected to CareerTech classrooms.
The appropriations request seeks a 14.8 percent increase over the FY19 budget of $120.4 million. While funds did increase in FY19 from FY18 levels, in the last 10 years Oklahoma CareerTech education has seen an overall reduction in general appropriations by 28 percent.
Industry leaders from across sectors that provide significant impact to Oklahoma’s economy emphasized the need to increase investments in career-ready education as a primary component of moving Oklahoma forward.
“The strongest pipeline to meet the demand in the agriculture industry is through CareerTech agricultural education and the FFA,” said Brent Kisling, Enid Regional Development Alliance executive director. “This investment in agricultural education, as well as other K-12 CareerTech programs would provide direct funding to classroom resources.
“I truly have never seen a more valuable program than Oklahoma FFA when it comes to instilling leadership and work ethic in our youth. CareerTech student organizations across the board add the workplace elements that help to make students successful. These programs are vital to training future generations.”
CareerTech’s skills gap solutions also help attract new businesses to the state and help existing businesses expand. In 2018 the CareerTech System served more than 6,900 companies, helping their employees gain new skills and adding new jobs to the Oklahoma economy.
“Solving the skills gap is at the forefront of an economic transformation pushing our state forward. CareerTech and their capabilities in upskilling workers, customizing training for industry and growing a pipeline of skilled workers is essential to keeping Oklahoma on the map for expanding and attracting companies to the state,” said David Stewart, chief administrative officer for MidAmerica Industrial Park and member of the State Board of Career and Technology Education.
Michael Culwell, campus director in Poteau at Kiamichi Technology Centers and president of the Oklahoma Association for Career and Technology Education, said, “Programs like welding technology, which give our students a high-quality wage for construction and manufacturing jobs that are in high demand in our area, should be expanded. The value of these programs and other CareerTech industry training programs are a priority to keeping Oklahoma’s future bright.”
Other items in the 2020 agenda include enriching work-based learning experiences, expanding professional development for CareerTech professionals and deploying new technology for career awareness. For an itemized list of all FY20 funding requests view the business plan and annual report for FY18 details.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA’S CAREERTECH SYSTEM
Oklahoma’s Career and Technology Education System is focused on developing a world-class workforce. This comprehensive system delivers educational experiences through 393 K-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 Skills Centers sites and 31 adult basic education providers and to more than 6,900 businesses. CareerTech’s mission is clear: to improve Oklahoma’s economy by providing individuals with the training and skills necessary to be successful in the workplace and by providing companies with the required workforce to compete globally. We are faced with a skills gap, and CareerTech has a solution.
For more about CareerTech visit
Learn more about the difference CareerTech makes for students.
With a low national unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled workers, particularly in manufacturing.
With plans to increase production and a goal of filling 45 newly-created positions, Ditch Witch in Perry turned to Meridian Technology Center to partner in a new training initiative. The program was funded in part through the Training for Industry program.
That initiative was aimed at filling jobs in five manufacturing areas: material handling, machining, welding, painting and assembly.
This month, eight employees graduated from the Ditch Witch Skills Academy with a focus in welding. Meridian Technology Center’s Business and Industry Services team worked with Ditch Witch to develop the customized program. During the nine-week program, those in training were hired on as full-time employees and received a salary and benefits. The primary requirements for getting hired were a steady work history and a desire to work in manufacturing.
Meridian BIS employees and Ditch Witch production supervisors collaborated to develop the training curriculum, delivery and outcomes for the skills academy. Meridian developed the curriculum, identified qualified instructors, monitored the trainees’ progress and evaluated the effectiveness of the training throughout the nine weeks.
The academy’s curriculum includes training in manufacturing fundamentals, welding and other technical skills, safety, computer skills, teamwork and communication skills. The students who completed the program received their OSHA 10, forklift, CPR/First-Aid and National Career Readiness certifications as part of the program.
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, 393 comprehensive school districts, 16 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.
One of the strengths of the CareerTech System is its accessibility to almost every Oklahoman.
- CareerTech offerings in 393 comprehensive school districts – 1,319 teachers
- 29 technology center districts with 58 campuses – 1,234 teachers
- Business and industry training attracts new industry and helps existing businesses expand and prosper – 6,948 industries
- 16 Skills Centers (inmates/juvenile offenders) – 38 teachers
- 31 adult basic education providers at 121 sites
One of the primary strengths of Oklahoma’s CareerTech System lies in its diversity. Here are a few of the diverse constituencies the CareerTech System serves:
- Oklahoma’s businesses and industries.
- Junior high school students.
- High school students.
- Non-diploma-holding adults.
- Employed adults.
- Unemployed adults.
- Senior citizens.
- Law offenders.
Each of these constituencies has its champions, Oklahomans who have personally experienced what the system has done for them or who have witnessed that personal growth in others.
The system’s diversity helps it rise to the challenge of meeting its goals:
- high expectations.
- new standards and accountabilities.
- managing and staffing such a diverse system.
- funding emerging technologies.
Through efforts such as High Schools That Work, we’ve seen firsthand that cooperative efforts between CareerTech educators and academic teachers pay big dividends in increasing academic performance.
Oklahoma’s CareerTech Education System maintains high-quality instruction by recruiting, retaining and developing instructors on the front line. We have placed great emphasis on our teachers attaining national certifications in their respective fields. In addition, Oklahoma ranks in the top 10 states per capita with teachers who have earned certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.
Our mission — our single and steadfast mission — is to help Oklahomans succeed in the workplace, in education and in life.
When a CareerTech student brings an idea to life by prototyping it on a 3-D printer, or receives affordable, hands-on training that raises his or her earning potential by tens of thousands of dollars in a matter of months, these experiences are priming them with the skills and sense of purpose needed to work for the companies doing big things in Oklahoma. Employers are taking note, and in some cases even finding ways to support our efforts to prepare the next generation to join the workforce.
One such company is Midship Pipeline, a project of Cheniere Energy, representing nearly a $1 billion investment in our state. Thanks to Midship’s recent generosity, STEM programs at six Oklahoma CareerTech Technology Centers, in addition to two universities, each received $20,000 donations that will improve the quality of STEM offerings. These funds will be used to buy advanced 3-D printers, create a mobile STEM library, and provide equipment and software upgrades to pre-engineering and aeronautical labs.
Our CareerTech system frequently partners with industries and companies to improve access to STEM education. In fiscal year 2018, CareerTech helped more than 6,900 Oklahoma businesses through our customized training programs and participation in the state’s bid assistance network.
Equally important, CareerTech STEM programs serve private-schooled students, home-schooled students and public school students from more than 390 school districts.
Our goal is to nurture creative students in grades six through 12 to be problem-solvers, innovators, logical thinkers, inventors and strong communicators who excel in science and mathematics.
CareerTech STEM programs play a critical role in expanding a talent pipeline of Oklahoma students who are ready to pursue viable careers in the state’s targeted industry sectors such as aerospace, energy, advanced manufacturing, health care and biotechnology.
A few examples of our STEM offerings are biomedical sciences, pre-engineering and computer science academy programs, which are taught in technology centers as well as high schools. These prepare students for professional health, engineering, computer and science degree programs with rigorous computer, math and science courses, including AP options for students.
More than 80 middle schools and junior highs benefit from our Gateway programs, which introduce students to STEM careers. Gateway courses combine Project Lead The Way math and science concepts with STEM projects to explore STEM fields and help with the transition to high school.
Last, our CareerTech programs provide a pathway for students to enter directly into a career and continue into post-secondary education. A national survey completed by Advance CTE shows that 91 percent of parents of students in CareerTech believe their child is getting a leg up on their career.
One of the greatest challenges facing Oklahoma and the nation is producing skilled workers who are trained on the latest STEM technologies and are ready for work. Without them, Oklahoma businesses cannot compete. CareerTech and our affordable STEM offerings are meeting this challenge.
Thanks again to Midship for recognizing the value of the CareerTech system and for its generous gift that will help prepare our students for a future in STEM-related fields.
Mack is director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
The Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network provides marketing and technical assistance to Oklahoma businesses interested in selling products and services to federal, state, local and tribal governments. The primary purpose of OBAN is to create jobs and expand the economy in Oklahoma by providing specific, valuable resources to Oklahoma businesses.
OBAN services clients out of 12 participating technology centers across Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education administers the program. As a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), OBAN is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).
- Daily computerized opportunity match report
- Personal consulting in marketing & contracting
- Proposal review
- Competitive intelligence
- Help in securing training, data and other resources
- Helpful Links
If you have questions or have suggestions for how OBAN can better support your efforts, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org