Category Archives: Dr. Marcie Mack

CareerTech employee receives Air Force Association STEM education award

Oklahoma CareerTech’s STEM program manager recently received an award for her work promoting STEM education.

The Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter presented Tonja Norwood with the Gerrity Chapter President’s STEM Education Award. Pictured are, from left, Col. Michael Tiemann, vice commander of the 72nd Air Base Wind; Norwood; and Janelle Stafford, AFA Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter president.

The Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter presented Tonja Norwood with the Gerrity Chapter President’s STEM Education Award.

Norwood has been the program manager for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education since 2018. She previously served as an information technology program specialist in ODCTE’s Business, Marketing and Information Technology Education Division.

“Tonja has been instrumental in expanding STEM educational opportunities across the state,” said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director. “Her dedication and leadership are vital to the success of our students, educators and future workforce. Tonja is very deserving of this award and recognition from AFA. We are honored to partner with them for the betterment of our state.”

Oklahoma CareerTech has partnered with the AFA Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter to provide CyberPatriot and StellarXplorers, providing classroom space and equipment, volunteer instructors and more, said Janelle Stafford, president of the chapter.

“Because of CareerTech’s involvement, we have had a much wider and more pervasive reach for both programs,” Stafford said. “Tonja has been at the very heart of all of this with our chapter. She knows these programs inside and out. She put in the time to get both programs certified as curriculum for Oklahoma Promise credits. Most recently, she undertook the certification training for the STK software used in StellarXplorers just so she would understand it better — not an easy thing to do!”

Norwood is also leading an effort to establish a train-the-trainer summer camp for StellarXplorers and is involved in both CyberPatriot and StellarXplorer student camps this summer, Stafford said. The AFA chapter wanted to do something to show its appreciation for Norwood’s support, so it created the Gerrity Chapter President’s STEM Education Award, Stafford said.

“With the support of Tonja and CareerTech, the Gerrity Chapter will continue to grow STEM education in our state and invest in our future workforce,” she said.

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, 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.

Female inmates graduate from truck driver training class

Four Oklahoma women are blazing new trails in big rigs.

The women are graduates of the first truck driver training class for incarcerated women. The program is a partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

“This program and others like it align with our mission to help offenders transition successfully from the correctional system to the workplace,” said Oklahoma CareerTech State Director Marcie Mack. “We’re very proud of each of the ladies, who have learned the skills they need for prosperous employment that will make a positive impact on their lives and the state’s economy.”

Two of the women, all of whom came from the Oklahoma City Community Corrections Center, have been released from DOC custody and hired by an Oklahoma City-based over-the-road trucking company.

During an eight-week finishing program with the company, the two women will drive all over the country with a trainer, gaining experience as drivers. Once they complete their training period, the two women will be given their own trucks and hired as full-time drivers.

The other two women are scheduled for release later this summer and plan to interview with the same industry partner.

The women started their training class in March and ended it earlier this month. They completed an intensive four-week program that included both classroom time and driving time. Their classes were conducted at Central Technology Center’s satellite site in El Reno.

The program in which they studied started as a pilot project in summer 2019 with men who were on probation; the program transitioned to incarcerated individuals in 2020. Two classes of men from Union City Community Corrections have completed the program, but this is the first class of women.

“They aren’t just giving us a job, they are giving us a whole new life,” Joanna Fowler said in an ODOC video. “And I’m so grateful for it.”

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, 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.

CareerTech student chosen as 2021 Presidential Scholar

An Oklahoma CareerTech student is one of two state students chosen as 2021 Presidential Scholars.

Sean Kuehn of Sand Springs is among 161 high school seniors in the 57th Presidential Scholar class who are being recognized for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.

Kuehn is a senior at Charles Page High School. He 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 Oklahoma CareerTech Director Marcie Mack’s Student Advisory Committee and Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s Student Advisory Council. Earlier this year, he was one of two Oklahoma students chosen represent the state during the 59th annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week.

Six slated for induction into Oklahoma CareerTech Hall of Fame

The Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation will induct six people into the Oklahoma Career and Technology Education Hall of Fame in October. This year’s inductees are Kent Boggs, Carolyn Cotton, Nancy Randolph Davis, Bob Funk, Phil Waul and Greg Winters.

“These Oklahoma CareerTech Hall of Fame honorees have contributed significantly to the success of the CareerTech System,” said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director. “Each recipient has advanced the mission of CareerTech in unique and extraordinary ways. We appreciate and honor their commitment to students, businesses and the lives of Oklahomans.”

Boggs retired from the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in 2018 as the state FFA secretary. Before joining ODCTE in 1985, he taught agricultural education in Elgin and Marlow.

Cotton retired from ODCTE as a family and consumer sciences education program specialist. She taught FCS for more than 30 years before joining the state department.

Nancy Randolph Davis, who will be inducted posthumously, was the first Black student to enroll at Oklahoma A&M, which is now Oklahoma State University. She taught family and consumer sciences at Dunjee High School and Star Spencer High School.

Funk is the co-founder, president and vice chairman of the board of Express Employment Professionals and a longtime advocate of career and technology education. In 2018, he received the inaugural Oklahoma CareerTech Advocate of Excellence Award.

Waul worked for 42 years at Central Technology Center. He joined the tech center as a drafting instructor in 1973 and retired as superintendent in 2015.

Winters retired as Canadian Valley Technology Center superintendent in 2018 after 44 years in the CareerTech System. He also served as superintendent at Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center and Kiamichi Technology Centers.

The 2021 class of inductees will increase the Hall of Fame membership to 86. The Hall of Fame, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Career and Technology Education, was founded in 1990.

Previous inductees include governors, college deans and professors, business and industry leaders, educators and CareerTech System faculty, staff and agency members.

The reception and banquet will be Oct. 14 in the OSU Student Union Ballroom.

For more information about the Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation, visit https://www.okcareertech.org/about/foundation.

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.

Thousands attend FCCLA State Convention in person and virtually

More than 2,000 Oklahoma Family, Career and Community Leaders of America attended the 75th annual FCCLA State Convention in person, and thousands more participated virtually.

Oklahoma FCCLA held the event April 1 in the new Oklahoma City Convention Center. Oklahoma FCCLA was the first student organization to hold an event at the new facilities.

Many chapters attending virtually held watch parties. Students heard from outstanding keynote speakers and presenters, including opening session keynote speaker Kyle Scheele. Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and Oklahoma CareerTech State Director Marcie Mack gave greetings during the sessions.

Competitors were recognized for their state competitions and first through third place competitors were recognized; National Leadership Conference qualifiers were also notified of their achievements. Chapters were recognized for membership awards including Star Chapters and the largest FCCLA chapter in the state (Midwest City High School).

FCCLA members elected the 2021-22 State Executive Council at the conclusion of the day.

CareerTech to develop film industry training programs

Oklahoma CareerTech and the Film Education Institute of Oklahoma are working together to promote the state’s film industry.

The two entities recently signed a memorandum of understanding to work together and with other industry partners to provide training and curriculum to meet the film industry’s employment demands in Oklahoma.

“This partnership is another example of how Oklahoma CareerTech is helping overcome the skills gap facing Oklahoma industries,” said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director. “We are excited to add these training programs to our repertoire.”

Production companies are increasingly choosing to film in Oklahoma, thanks to tax rebates, unique locations and workers looking for opportunity. Recent movies filmed in the state include “Minari,” which has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won a Golden Globe for best foreign language film.

CareerTech’s network of school districts, technology centers and skills centers will offer career training for photographers, set designers, hair and makeup artists, grips, gaffers and other film and television production professionals. Training programs are already being developed, and more will be offered under the agreement.

Continued growth in the film industry in Oklahoma, however, may depend on the state’s ability to provide a trained workforce, one reason CareerTech and FEIO are working together.

FEIO’s mission is to connect students from across the state with the film and television industry, said Trevor Rogers, FEIO executive director.

“Oklahoma’s CareerTech System has served as a golden standard for education and workforce development in our state for many years,” he said. “That is why our growing film industry saw it as imperative to form a partnership and take this exciting new venture to the next level.”

The Oklahoma Film and Music Office estimates more than 10,000 Oklahoma jobs borne from 33 film and television projects using the state’s incentive program will directly pump more than $161 million into the state’s economy in fiscal 2021, which ends June 30. More than 150 additional projects are not part of the incentive program.

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.

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 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 Masons donate $200,000 in scholarships for CareerTech, OU nurse refresher course

Nurses who want to return to work through Oklahoma’s nurse refresher course can now get assistance, thanks to a donation from the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma.

The foundation has donated $200,000, which translates into 100 scholarships of $2,000 each — the cost of the revised nurse refresher program. Applications for the scholarships will open Feb. 10.

“We thought it was a great opportunity to do something we all desperately need,” said John Logan, MCFO executive director. “We thought it sounded like a wonderful program.”

“We are very thankful and grateful for the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma’s donation,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “The $200,000 donation will make a great difference in the lives of nurses wanting to return to work and in the lives of the patients they will be caring for.”

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. Ten Oklahoma CareerTech technology centers offer the course for nurses who do not have an active license but want to return to practice.

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. The revisions have lowered the number of hours required for students who achieve baseline competency. The fees have also been lowered, from $2,599 to $2,000.

“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,” said Lara Morris, Oklahoma CareerTech health careers education state program manager.

Logan said he read about the effort to get more nurses back into the field in the Oklahoma CareerTech Director’s Memo, a newsletter that goes out once a week. He was afraid, however, that even the reduced cost might prevent some nurses from taking the course and returning to work.

He took the issue to the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma, the charitable arm of the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, and the foundation decided to make the donation. Part of the appeal was that the technology centers participating in the program are spread out across Oklahoma.

“We’ve got lodges from the Panhandle to Broken Bow. Members like to know that when we’re giving charitable assistance to organizations in the state that we’re not leaving out their areas of the state,” Logan explained. “We try really hard to look for opportunities to do things that benefit communities all over the state.”

Technology centers offering the course are Autry Tech, Canadian Valley Tech, Green Country Tech, Kiamichi Tech, Meridian Tech, Metro Tech, Moore Norman Tech, Pontotoc Tech, Southern Tech and Tulsa Tech. Scholarship applications will be taken at the participating technology centers beginning Feb. 10.

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.

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