What are the basic foundational skill sets that businesses are looking for in their next employees? Watch Dr. Marcie Mack’s interview with Jennifer Monies, Executive Director of Oklahoma Achieve, to learn more.
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The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in Stillwater has created a new online resource center to help educators make the most of their work.
The new division, known as the Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement, took shape over the past several months before going live at the end of July.
Francis Tuttle, known as the architect of Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, created the curriculum function at the state agency in 1967. The new Resource Center is a natural next step, said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director.
“Oklahoma was known for 50 years for its competency-based instructional materials for what was then called vocational education, now career and technology education,” Mack said. “That curriculum was developed, printed and delivered to teachers across the state and throughout the nation from the agency headquarters here in Stillwater.”
Increasing competition from national publishers made it difficult to continue to develop new printed products, but paved the way for a new digital opportunity, she added.
Staff members of the Resource Center research educational materials and best practices to distribute online for free throughout the state CareerTech System. They also adapt select curriculum content into smaller resources for teachers, such as rubrics, PowerPoint files and handouts. The Resource Center also provides support in identifying curriculum, assessments, and other instructional delivery resources on request.
Although the focus is on the needs of CareerTech teachers and administrators, public school teachers will find helpful resources as well, Mack said.
The Resource Center website features categories of resources for teachers, trainers, career counselors, administrators and decision-makers, which include tools for teachers and trainers; resources about standards, credentials and assessments; employability and adult basic education resources; and career and academic connections resources.
Planners and researchers can also find something useful on the Resource Center website. An industry/workplace data and trends category provides links to dozens of recent studies, reports and other publications from sources including state and federal agencies, think tanks, foundations, industry groups and education research organizations.
“The new Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement is a comprehensive source for teaching and planning resources,” said Mack. “It brings together a wealth of expertise and research from across the country so that teachers and administrators can focus on applying that knowledge to the benefit of their students.”
Leaning on its legacy of curriculum development to initiate a digital resource center made sense, said Justin Lockwood, a deputy director at the state agency.
“Today’s teachers can access online textbooks with built-in gradebooks. Students can use their tablets or even their smartphones to access digital content, including video, anytime and anywhere,” Lockwood said.
Instead of competing with the national publishers to provide the textbooks, ODCTE saw an unmet need for digital resources to help teachers enhance their lesson plans, he explained.
“With so many online courses and textbooks available from a variety of sources, it creates a need for supplemental resources that can assist a new or experienced teacher in building a comprehensive learning experience for students,” he said.
One of the most popular resources from the Resource Center is a digital version of a longtime print resource known informally as the web book. When the internet was new, teachers spent a lot of time searching for useful online resources, said Craig Maile, ODCTE curriculum manager. The web book was Oklahoma CareerTech’s answer.
“Our curriculum staff listed links to supplemental resources based on their work developing curriculum. Every few years, we’d produce a new edition of the web book and give it away to teachers at conferences and workshops,” he said.
A 2018 digital edition with hundreds of links to resources organized by career cluster is available on the Resource Center website.
“Our next most popular free resource is a notepad with a grid on it,” Maile said. “We’ll probably continue to print that one.”
The Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement website is at https://www.okcareertech.org/educators/resource-center. Visitors can also find it as one of the divisions of Oklahoma CareerTech at .
Mack will serve a one-year term through June 30, 2019, on the board of the national nonprofit organization. Advance CTE represents state directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult career and technology education across all 50 states and U.S. territories. Members of the executive committee are elected by the Advance CTE membership.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve on the Advance CTE executive committee, whose mission is to advance career and technology education across the nation,” Mack said.
Mack became the eighth state director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in February 2015 after serving as the interim director for six months. She joined the state agency in July 2013 as deputy state director/chief operations officer.
She previously served as assistant superintendent at Autry Technology Center, one of the 29 technology centers within the CareerTech System.
Under Mack’s leadership, the Oklahoma CareerTech System has launched multiple initiatives with a focus on continuous improvement, including creating statewide advisory committees for business and industry leaders and military personnel.
Advance CTE presented Mack the Star of Education Rising Star Award in 2017.
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, 391 K-12 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.
What is one of the most critical economic needs Oklahoma faces? The answer is clear: A sustainable, qualified workforce.
Oklahoma’s relatively low unemployment rate means every Oklahoman is needed to drive the state’s economy.
So how do we work to build a sustainable, qualified workforce?
First, we must change the conversation. We must educate students about the jobs available in our state. We must talk about career options and the education needed to obtain careers.
The conversation about college or career must change. There are multiple paths; education is vital to obtaining any career, but the level of education needed for individual careers varies. So the conversation needs to be focused on, “What skills, training and education do you need to be successful?” not, “What skills, training or education do you need to be successful?”
Today’s qualified workforce does not have an option of either skills or academics. The workforce requires individuals to have both skills and academics along with critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills. The conversation cannot be college or career. Our workforce requires both.
The state-by-state analysis in “Good Jobs That Pay without a BA,” a report from The Good Jobs Project, shows that between 1991 and 2015, Oklahoma lost 3,000 good blue collar jobs that did not require bachelor’s degrees, but gained 97,000 good skilled services jobs for workers without bachelor’s degrees. Median earnings of non-degreed workers with good jobs in 2015 was $55,000.
Skills training provides for careers in a variety of areas that lead to wealth-generating, sustainable wages, but students may not be encouraged to look at skilled jobs and technical training. That conversation must change, as more than 50 percent of Oklahoma jobs require a certificate, credential or associate degree.
It’s not just Oklahoma facing the problem. A recent NPR story heard on “All Things Considered” looked at the state of trade employment in Washington and across the country. Reporters found that one-third of new jobs through 2022 will be in construction, health care and personal care, and new plumbers and electricians will be in demand. In the next five years, infrastructure fields will have 68 percent more job openings.
And parents, the story says, often mistakenly believe that career and technology education won’t lead to good, professional jobs. But career and technology education prepares students to meet the demands of skilled jobs, as well as prepares them to continue into postsecondary education.
CareerTech affords students the opportunity to earn certificates, industry-recognized credentials and credit toward associate degrees. Oklahoma CareerTech empowers middle school, high school and adult students to add workforce value to their education. Career and technology education is accessible throughout Oklahoma.
To meet the needs of Oklahoma’s economy, the conversation must change. The conversation around college or career will not get Oklahoma’s economy where it needs to be. We must have a sustainable, qualified workforce, and Oklahoma CareerTech is key.
Marcie Mack is State Director at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
We founded Oklahoma CareerTech Delivers because we wanted to develop an inspiring place for you to locate useful, informative and thought-provoking information on a variety of topics concerning career and technology education.
Oklahoma’s career and technology education system is focused on developing a world-class workforce as we deliver educational experiences through a network of 391 K-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 skills center sites and 31 adult basic education providers.
CareerTech’s ultimate goal is to improve Oklahoma’s economy by providing individuals with the training and skills necessary to be successful in the workplace and providing companies with the required workforce necessary to compete globally.
We are excited about using this new communication tool and hope it will increase our collaboration and interaction with our stakeholders. Please comment on our posts and on the posts of others, as we hope this leads to an engaging dialogue on our favorite subject: career and technology education.
We are so happy you are here!
Dr. Marcie Mack