Category Archives: Career and Technology Education

Oklahoma energy industry partners with education sector to develop energy’s next generation workforce

Governor Stitt declares Oct. 19 – 23 Oklahoma Careers in Energy Week

The Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium is launching a new energy career cluster to promote the benefits of pursuing careers in energy. Energy is the highest-paying industry in the state, averaging more than $100,000 annually.

Leaders within the energy industry initiated the OEWC to address a looming shortage of skilled workers that is expected nationwide by 2025. With the help of educational leaders, the group aims to engage the next generation by adding a new career cluster to the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education’s instructional framework.

“Energy plays a vital role in the lives of Oklahomans, and we want to provide a focused, comprehensive and engaging framework for students to learn more about the high-wage and rewarding careers available in the energy industry,” said Sean Trauschke, chairman, president and chief executive officer of OGE Energy Corp. “We are proud to join with partners throughout Oklahoma’s energy sector to demonstrate the wide variety of occupations, from careers in power generation to renewable energies to new technologies in oil and gas and more.”

In anticipation of the new career cluster’s introduction, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued a state proclamation recognizing Oct. 19-23, 2020, as Oklahoma Careers in Energy Week.

“The energy sector is a key element of Oklahoma’s economic growth, and it is more diverse and modern than many realize,” Stitt said. “The next generation of bright minds and aspiring leaders will continue this work. These students represent the future of our state, and the unity within this career cluster, encompassing some of our largest industries, including utilities, renewable energy and oil and gas, shows the ever-increasing diversity and complexity of Oklahoma’s energy sector.”

In addition to industry leaders, the consortium includes representatives from CareerTech, common education, higher education and government focused on creating a pipeline of talented, diverse individuals to meet future needs within the state’s energy sector.

“Providing opportunities for students to learn about the important industries in their own communities through partnerships like this one is a long-valued pillar at CareerTech,” said Marcie Mack, state director of CareerTech. “The Energy Career Cluster is the most recent example of CareerTech’s ability to partner with employers and all levels of education within Oklahoma and equip students with tools and skills they need to thrive within our state’s diverse workforce.”

The Energy Career Cluster will be one of 17career clusters in Oklahoma, and will be added to the list of industry-specific sectors that constitute CareerTech’s instructional framework.

“So many rewarding careers exist within the energy sector,” said PSO President and Chief Operating Officer Peggy Simmons. “We rely on highly skilled workers to serve our customers and drive innovation to shape the future. Students interested in earning competitive wages in a field with unlimited potential should consider a career in energy – we’d love to have bright and creative minds join our team.”

The OEWC cites the impending workforce shortage as a major driver for its formation. Most schools have or are implementing STEM programs and curriculum, which is an important component of energy jobs. STEM-related skills are also very transferable across many jobs and many other industries, providing students with many more options when it comes time to choose a career or pursue a college degree in a high-wage, high-demand STEM field.

“Increasing awareness of educational pathways for Oklahoma’s critical occupations is a key element of the state system of higher education’s ongoing efforts to advance educational attainment in our state,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. “Our state system colleges and universities offer numerous degree options to prepare graduates for employment in the energy sector.”

“The Workforce Development mission is to drive success by connecting industries and education to build a workforce for today and a talent pipeline for tomorrow,” said Don Morris, executive director of the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development. “Key partnerships such as this make a true difference for job seekers, businesses and all of Oklahoma. This type of teamwork and camaraderie are what make Oklahoma the place people want to live and work.”

“I’m proud to partner with Oklahoma CareerTech, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium to support a new career cluster for energy,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “Oklahoma’s future depends on students who are prepared today for a highly specialized workforce of tomorrow. This career cluster will help develop a talent pipeline to meet the demands in our state for qualified energy careers.”

“This partnership is a great opportunity to showcase what a career in energy really looks like and show the positive benefits of working in one of the largest industries in Oklahoma,” said Brook A. Simmons, president of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma. “We are able to carry out our association’s mission to build a better Oklahoma through capital investments and investing in the future of the oil and natural gas industry through students.”

“We are challenged with meeting our energy needs reliably, affordably and in environmentally responsible ways,” said Chris Meyers, general manager and CEO of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of this industry.”

OEWC, initiated by industry leaders and endorsed by state education leaders, is planning to celebrate Careers in Energy Week by highlighting the importance of energy, the benefits of the industry and how students can get involved in the field. On Oct. 21 at 2 p.m., CareerTech will host a virtual discussion on Zoom about the career cluster’s launch. The group has long-term plans to work closely with educators, career counselors and parents to raise awareness about the energy industry.

For more information about the Energy Career Cluster, Careers in Energy Week and the Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium, visit okcareertech.org, OKcollegestart.org or Oklahoma.getintoenergy.com.

About Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium

Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium is a partnership among Oklahoma energy companies and organizations with a mission to raise awareness about the energy industry and career pathways available to Oklahoma students. The consortium represents the energy industry, education, government and community leaders united to build a talent pipeline for Oklahoma’s energy sector. The full list of consortium members can be viewed at Oklahoma.getintoenergy.com.

More than 1,600 attend virtual BPA, DECA conference

Oklahoma Business Professionals of America and Oklahoma DECA hosted a virtual Fall Leadership Conference for more than 1,600 students and advisers.

The conference centered around students finding their leadership voices and using them to amplify their strengths as leaders, role models and BPA and DECA members. In addition to sessions on learning their styles and working with other leaders, students also heard from Alton Carter, author of “The Boy Who Carried Bricks” and “Aging Out” and founder of the Alton Carter Inspire Foundation, which helps individuals in foster homes, group homes and boys ranches earn college degrees.

“This year has brought about so many changes, but one thing it has not changed is the hard work and dedication that Oklahoma CTSO state officers pour into their organizations,” said Paxton Cavin, state BPA and DECA adviser. “No matter what has been put in their path, on their list or abruptly changed, these officers have stepped up to the occasion. I could not be more proud of these two state officer teams and the work they have done and continue to do during this crazy year.”

CareerTech Champions

Samir Elneser – Metro Technology Centers and HOSA

This man’s wife didn’t need an X-ray to see her husband’s passion for health care.

THEN: A bachelor’s degree in business information systems guided him toward a career in marketing and retail, but when Samir Elneser was in his 40s, he was suddenly laid off and looking for a new job.

Elneser was born in the United States to immigrants from Colombia and Lebanon. The son of a doctor, he chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps. When the younger Elneser lost his job, however, his wife convinced him to reconsider the medical field. He took her advice, training as a nurse’s aide and going to work in a hospital. There he discovered he was more interested in the work being done by the radiologic technologists.

He found a full-time RT program at Metro Technology Centers. He joined HOSA, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with health careers education, winning gold medals at both state and international competitions. Elneser

  • Found his lifelong profession at Metro Tech.
  • Learned to take patient X-rays.
  • Received the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists radiography certification.

“Taking X-rays requires creating a high level of patient comfort through proper positioning and communication,” he said. “I also interact and engage with many different patients in a typical day, and I enjoy that diversity.”

NOW: A radiologic technologist at Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center-Norman, OU Medicine and Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. Elneser finished the program with 15 classmates he considers close friends.

 He said Metro Tech was invested in his success. Even when the program was challenging, Elneser said, he knew he had the support of his teachers.

“My teachers held me and my classmates accountable while instilling the confidence we needed to be the best.”

Samir Elneser, radiologic technologist

CareerTech Horizon Podcast: “Back In the Swing of Things”

Has the time come for you to transition back to your normal life? Does the uncertainty of going back to school or work amidst a pandemic give you stress and anxiety?

In this episode, CareerTech Horizon takes you inside one technology center to see how they navigated their reopening with a new program for students and plenty of guidelines to keep everyone safe.

  • At Tri County Tech in Bartlesville, we take a look at the newly revamped “Skills To Rebuild” program, designed to train students quickly for new careers in the areas hardest hit by the pandemic.
  • We sit down with Tri County Tech’s CEO and Superintendent Lindel Fields and ask about how the tech center approached the shutdown and the reopening, and what this means for the future of education.
  • Finally, we call up CareerTech’s own Dr. Steven Aragon, a cognitive psychologist who has some advice on how to navigate these uncertain times with your family.

You can follow CareerTech Horizon on Twitter @CT_Horizon, or Facebook.

You can also visit their website, cthorizon.org, for show notes, discussion and bonus content, “Beyond Your Horizon.”

Beyond Your Horizon: Learn more about today’s stories

Skills To Rebuild – Tri County Tech

Pandemic and Mental Health

Classic Horizon Stories

ODCTE featured in HVAC trade publication

Ric Russell, technical program specialist in ODCTE’s Trade and Industrial Education Division, talked to the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News about how Oklahoma CareerTech students are learning during the pandemic.

Students in heating, ventilating and air conditioning programs are learning in a hybrid model, with alternating lab days, live online training, simulations and recorded trainings, Russell told the publication. An unexpected benefit, he added, is that programs are able to increase the student population.

Schools in Georgia and Los Angeles were also featured in the story.

Continue reading HERE

CareerTech Champion

Joe Muchiri Wathika – Francis Tuttle Technology Center and BPA

Then: His classmates saw a shy young immigrant from Kenya with a heavy African accent that was difficult to understand. Joe Muchiri Wathika said he wanted to learn how to edit videos, so the Deer Creek High School student enrolled in Sherri Gleaves’ class at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. Wathika learned the ins and outs of broadcast and video production, but he said those skills aren’t the ones that changed his life.

Wathika described himself as a self-conscious, introverted teenager before he enrolled. He tried to withdraw into a shell, but his instructor continually challenged him to do more. He rose to Gleaves’ challenges and served as a chapter, state and even national president in Business Professionals of America, the CareerTech leadership organization for students in business, marketing and information technology education.

“Mrs. Gleaves helped me cultivate character and a sense of responsibility that continues to transform my life,” Wathika said.

In addition to self-confidence and positive character development, he said he gained public speaking skills and study habits that enabled him to

  • Receive the Chesapeake Scholarship to study economics at Oklahoma City University.
  • Receive the Gilman and Boren scholarships to study Chinese in Taiwan.
  • Hold multiple leadership positions in student government and lead the ethics debate team.

“Choosing to be involved in CareerTech was the most important and impactful decision I made in high school,” he said. Now: Wathika is a financial services representative at Oklahoma’s Credit Union. He said he uses the skills he learned from Gleaves’ class every day. He is able to clearly communicate to members, and as a result of Gleaves’ mentorship, Wathika has built a character based on integrity, humility and honesty.

“I definitely owe it all to the marvelous woman, Mrs. Gleaves! She was a universe, more than a teacher!”
Joe Muchiri Wathika, Oklahoma’s Credit Union

Putting Prison in the Rear View Mirror

Oklahoma inmates are learning a new trade — commercial truck driving. This unique program is giving men and women an opportunity to start a new journey. Oklahoma CareerTech is proud to partner with Central Tech and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to help these students start their new life, with a new skill!

The 53rd Annual Oklahoma Summit

Oklahoma Summit - 53rd Logo

  • Registration is open.
  • Summit dates are Aug. 4-5.

The 53rd Annual Oklahoma Summit will be held virtually this year.

Online Registration

All participants are strongly advised to register in advance to provide a quicker, more efficient log-in experience. Beginning July 8, online registration requires you to fill out your personal information for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education to enter into its new data storage system. After you complete your information for ODCTE, you will continue on to the OkACTE website to verify your personal information with OkACTE. From there, you will proceed with registration and membership options. The online registration/membership is located on a secured site. When registering, please be sure to print your paid receipt. This will help facilitate your log-in process.

Register Here for Oklahoma Summit 2020

For any questions or assistance with online Summit registration, please contact the OkACTE office at 405-525-8906 or

CareerTech Champions

Raylynn Thompson – Indian Capital Technology Center and HOSA

Biomed program is just what this future doctor ordered.

Thompson

THEN: A voracious learner who said she ran out of classes to take by the time she was a sophomore in high school. Raylynn Thompson had completed pre-AP biology and the introductory Project Lead The Way courses at Muskogee High School. When she heard about Indian Capital Technology Center’s biomedical academy, she knew it was a perfect fit. She enrolled as a high school junior in order to take the advanced classes she needed to reach her medical career goals.

Raylynn worked long, hard hours to complete the biomed program. She even found time to serve as chapter president of HOSA, the CareerTech student organization for future
health professionals. Her efforts earned her the designation of Stern Award Recipient Valedictorian of her high school class, with a weighted GPA of 4.7. When she graduated from MHS, Raylynn had already earned 31 college credits.

She attributes much of her success to Indian Capital, which helped her

  • Gain acceptance into 65 universities.
  • Receive multiple full-ride scholarships.
  • Develop classroom skills that allow her to better understand college coursework.

The academy provided Raylynn with a knowledge base that allows her to better grasp concepts in her college biology and calculus courses.

“Since I was exposed to it early on,” she said, “I understand it better, easier and faster.”

NOW: Raylynn accepted a full-ride scholarship at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi, where she enrolled as a sophomore biology major with a concentration on medicine. She said that although the curriculum is challenging, she finds herself assisting classmates who are further along in their education.

She plans to graduate from ASU in three years. She then plans to go to medical school to become a neonatologist, a pediatrician who specializes in the care of newborn infants.

“CareerTech students begin with the end in mind, so they don’t undervalue the work they’re doing.”

Raylynn Thompson

 

2020 ICBS Show Taking Registrations

Registration is open for the 2020 ICBS Show, an annual event that offers businesses help ICBSlogoworking with state and federal government agencies. This year’s summit will be Aug. 18-20.

The networking and business opportunity event will be online via www.icbsshow.com this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Registration is available at www.icbsshow.com/register for $35 and covers all three days of the event.

Training sessions include federal regulatory and legal changes, the Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification and General Service Administration Federal Supply Schedules. Other topics include the Integrated Award Environment and Small Business Administration program changes, such as the Women-Owned Small Business and HUBZone programs. Business matching, connecting businesses with potential partners in government, will take place Aug. 19-20.

The Oklahoma Procurement Technical Assistance Center Division of CareerTech and Tribal Government Institute are presenting the show, which has taken place annually since 2006.

“We have retained much of the successful format of ICBS as we moved it virtual this year,” said Carter Merkle, program manager of OkPTAC. “We have a similar lineup of briefings, and we are excited to offer a virtual matchmaking that appears to be as good for our participants as our popular in-person event each year.

“What we haven’t tackled this year is a virtual exhibit hall and sponsorships, which could be something developed in the future, but we hope to bring people together in person next year, possibly with enhancements using the virtual meeting skills we are learning this year.”

The ICBS Show is online only to avoid spreading COVID-19 while also continuing to help businesses and individuals network, learn and meet potential new customers. The virtual platform may also result in new matchmaking participants by removing barriers such as travel costs. Early interest has been strong among personnel from several government agencies, Merkle said.

For more information, contact Merkle at 405-612-7386 or carter.merkle@careertech.ok.gov.

Go to www.icbsshow.com or www.facebook.com/icbsshow/ for event and contact information.

About OkPTAC, CareerTech and TGI

Oklahoma’s PTAC offers business counseling through 12 local technology centers across the state. Click here for OkPTAC locations and contact information.

TGI is a Native American PTAC providing counseling and other services to tribal enterprises and native-owned companies in the Southern Plains and Eastern Oklahoma regions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. For more info on TGI, go to www.tgiok.com.

Procurement technical assistance centers are funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency.

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, 394 K-12 school districts, 16 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.2020_new_logo18322_okptac_logo

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