Category Archives: Dr. Marcie Mack

Oklahoma CareerTech uses virtual format to introduce students to career possibilities

More than 16,000 students in 20 PK-12 and technology center districts across Oklahoma are learning more about nontraditional careers in a new Oklahoma CareerTech initiative.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education launched the VirtualJobShadow.com initiative as a way to encourage more students to investigate nontraditional careers. A nontraditional career is one in which less than 25 percent of the labor force is of one gender.

VirtualJobShadow.com is an online, video-based exploration and career planning platform designed to help students and job seekers learn more about themselves, career pathways and skills needed for independent living. It features videos showing a day in the life of men and women at employer worksites.

“This new platform empowers students to learn more about careers that suit their interests,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “Through hundreds of professionally produced videos, our goal is to boost student awareness, interest and eventual employment in nontraditional careers.”

The platform turned out to be ideal for schools during the COVID-19 pandemic because it is video-based, said Steven Aragon, equity/diversity professional development specialist at ODCTE. In addition to workplaces, the videos show students in classrooms learning the skills they will need for various careers.

“There’s one with a female auto mechanics instructor teaching female students how to balance tires,” Aragon said. “We know in education — and other areas, for that matter — we need to see people who look like us. It’s one of the biggest ways to get students excited and thinking about possibilities they’ve never thought about — seeing people who look like them doing things.”

ODCTE sent recruitment letters to technology center and PK-12 school districts last summer with the hope of reaching 15,000 students in Oklahoma. Districts submitted proposals, and those approved began using VirtualJobShadow.com in September, Aragon said. To date, about 20 districts use the pilot program, with more than 16,400 student users. Tulsa Public Schools has more than 14,000 student users alone, Aragon said.

High Plains Technology Center in Woodward uses VirtualJobShadow.com in its Technical Applications Program to introduce elementary and middle school students to career and technology education.

“The students are exploring careers and being exposed to things they didn’t know. It is opening their eyes to the endless career options available,” said Danna Goss, HPTC middle school TAP instructor.

VirtualJobShadow.com also includes curriculum and tools to help instructors create lessons for their students, along with reporting tools that can help instructors, administrators and parents track students’ progress and career interests.

Assessment of the initiative, which uses money from the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, will begin in the spring, Aragon said, with data collection starting in March. ODCTE will make a decision about continuing the program based on the data, he explained.

“If it is doing what we want it to do and making a difference, we’ll keep doing it,” he said.

For more information about VirtualJobShadow.com, go to https://www.virtualjobshadow.com/ or contact Steven Aragon at steven.aragon@careertech.ok.gov or 405-743-5180. To see a video about the initiative, go to https://www.virtualjobshadow.com/partners/non-traditional-careers-overview/.

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 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.

OK CareerTech Partners to Meet Workforce Shortage In The Meat Processing Industry

Oklahoma CareerTech and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry announced new educational programs this week to help curb a workforce shortage in Meat Displaythe meat processing industry.

The curriculum was designed to encourage more commodity processing within the state and help address the ever-growing labor shortage within meat processing plants across the state. It also helps to supply a skilled workforce to rural areas and processing plants across the state.

“This is an exciting day for the Oklahoma meat processing sector,” said Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma secretary of agriculture. “I am very proud to be here especially because this solves problems across the board. A lot of times, we just address one piece of something but this provides a solution to both our producers and consumers.”

Central Technology Center plans to offer multilevel, customizable, online courses to provide students with the certification that aligns with the American Meat Science Association while still supporting industry need. It will provide workforce development and training within a timely manner.

Marcie Mack, state director of CareerTech, explained at the announcement event how CareerTech began the process of offering these courses by meeting with an industry panel to determine the specific criteria and credentials they are needing in their workforce.

“Right now, we have the new opportunity for individuals to enroll on our website in three meat certification programs,” she said. “The initial phase will be online to help students get their foot in the door. Eventually, we will move to in-person classes for courses such as carcass harvesting.”

You can find more information about the courses on the CareerTech website.

Oklahoma CareerTech Awards $2.35 Million in Lottery Grants

4_in_web_red_blkThe Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education has awarded just over $2.35 million in lottery grants to CareerTech programs for the 2020-21 school year, along with $500,000 in scholarships in the 2019-20 school year.

ODCTE receives almost 5 percent of the Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund, which it uses to help CareerTech programs upgrade equipment and to provide scholarships to educators to continue their own education to fulfill CareerTech teacher certification and credential requirements. Oklahoma CareerTech starts each year’s competitive grant process only after it receives the lottery funds.

CareerTech sixth through 12th grade programs and technology centers submit grant proposals that include their plans for using the funds to innovate and positively affect students. Because it is a competitive process, not all those who apply will receive funds.

“Instructors and students throughout the system benefit from funds received from the Oklahoma Lottery,” said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director. “Through the competitive grant process each year, there is a direct investment in the classroom and training experiences with new equipment, technology and enhanced instructional resources in a variety of ways.”

Ninety CareerTech programs in 69 PK-12th grade schools and nine technology centers received grants in the 2020-21 school year. CareerTech awarded 486 teacher and administrator certification scholarships worth a total of $500,000 in the 2019-20 school year.

Technology centers will invest in a wide range of equipment; examples are a police driver training simulator and other law enforcement training equipment; welding and metal fabrication equipment; computers, printers and other hardware; software; and virtual reality equipment for health careers education.

The 69 PK-12th grade schools received 90 lottery grants. Examples of classroom resources are welding equipment; tablets and other computer equipment, including software; greenhouse equipment; digital cameras and other photography equipment; apparel design and production equipment; food preparation and nutritional sciences equipment; microscopes; patient simulators and other health equipment; drones; construction shop equipment; and other equipment to enhance the CareerTech programs.

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.

CareerTech Champions

William E. Powell Jr. – Lexington Skills Center

Business owner: Success started with one CareerTech instructor who cared.

L to R: Instructor Cecil Wainscott, CareerTech Director Marcie Mack, business owner William Powell.

THEN: He had lost everything. William Powell was serving a 10-year prison

sentence, and in his own words, his life was completely void of any source of pride. Then a former student at Lexington Correctional Center told him about Cecil Wainscott. Powell said the one-on-one guidance he received from the licensed trades instructor transformed his life.

After Powell was accepted into the licensed trades program, he had something he could be proud of. In fact, he had a lot to be proud of. He completed his GED while he was incarcerated and later became a certified unlimited electrical journeyman and contractor.

Powell said the electrical training and his CareerTech experience helped him develop:

  • Focus – giving him “the proverbial bullseye” he said he is always looking for.
  • Accountability – “It’s not only about me,” he said. “It’s about making everyone around me better.”
  • Pride – “Being able to call myself an electrician gave me a drive to succeed,” he said.

Powell said he uses the skills he learned in the CareerTech program on a daily basis.

NOW: William Powell owns his own electrical business, Powell Electric, in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The business is bonded and insured.

Powell said he is blessed beyond measure.

“I have money in the bank, I own a home and vehicles, and I am a pillar in my community,” he said.

Oklahoma CareerTech Develops World-Class Workforce

Thelogo Oklahoma Career and Technology Education System focuses every day on developing a world-class workforce.

“Oklahoma CareerTech partners with business and educational institutions to enhance career awareness, increase educational attainment and meet the needs of our state,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education state director. “CareerTech is an integral part of Oklahoma’s economy.”

The Oklahoma CareerTech System is celebrating CareerTech Education Month in February. Gov. Kevin Stitt recently issued a proclamation declaring this month as Career and Technical Education Appreciation Month in Oklahoma.

Stitt has called Oklahoma CareerTech “a system that has been nimble and robust in helping us train the workforce.”

The CareerTech System delivers educational experiences through a network of 394 PK-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 skills center sites in correctional facilities and 32 adult basic education providers. In fiscal year 2019, CareerTech’s enrollments totaled more than 550,000, and CareerTech System graduates added more than $3.5 billion to Oklahoma’s economy.

The 29 technology center districts have 58 campuses that offer career training to high school and adult students, along with training and assistance for Oklahoma’s businesses and industries.

High school students can attend the technology centers in their districts for free, learning skills that will help them land good jobs after school and also position them to continue their education after graduation. Certifications earned through CareerTech courses give students entrance into higher-paying careers, which can also help them pursue higher education without incurring excessive debt.

Adult students at technology centers can learn new skills and earn certificates and credentials to get jobs, change careers or advance in their current careers. In FY18, CareerTech students earned 19,566 industry-endorsed certificates, showing that they have the skills Oklahoma’s industries need.

In Oklahoma’s comprehensive school districts, 35 percent of sixth through 12th grade students — and almost half of ninth through 12th grade students — enrolled in CareerTech courses: agricultural education; business and information technology education; family and consumer sciences education; health careers education; marketing education; science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and trade and industrial education.

More than 82,000 students also learned leadership skills as members of co-curricular CareerTech student organizations: FFA; Family, Careers and Community Leaders of America; SkillsUSA; Technology Student Association; Business Professionals of America; HOSA; and DECA.

In addition, 3,356 CareerTech students in comprehensive schools and technology centers were honored for their work be achieving membership in the National Technical Honor Society.

In 2019, CareerTech also expanded OK Career Guide, its statewide career development education system, to include Galaxy, which introduces career awareness to pre-K through fifth grade students.

Oklahoma CareerTech helps provide qualified employees for the state’s businesses and industries by preparing state residents for successful careers, but it also provides direct services business and industry.

CareerTech’s Business and Industry Services Division helped more than 8,000 companies increase their profitability in FY19 with increased sales, higher productivity, reduced costs and expanded operations and helped companies move to and start in Oklahoma and provided training for 2,527 new jobs. Also, the Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network helped state companies secure more than $550 million in contracts.

CareerTech also has a presence in state correctional facilities through a partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Instructors in the Skills Centers School System teach inmates and juvenile offenders work and life skills that help keep them in the workforce and out of the corrections system after their release. In FY19, more than 2,000 people were enrolled in skills centers, and positive placement — employment, continuing education or military — was 89.21 percent.

The CareerTech System also helps those who dropped out of high school earn diplomas and gain skills to enter the workforce through the dropout recovery program. In FY19, 367 people earned a high school diploma through the program.

ODCTE also oversees Oklahoma’s adult basic education program, which includes 32 providers offering high school equivalency programs and tests along with English literacy and civics courses at 111 sites. In FY19, 12,647 students enrolled in CareerTech’s adult basic education programs.

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 comprehensive 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.

What It Takes – CareerTech State Director Welcomes Students


Students in Oklahoma CareerTech programs earn credits toward high school graduation as well as the opportunity to prepare for industry recognized certifications and credentials and licenses.

“Oklahoma CareerTech is Workforce and Economic Development”

February is CTE Month, but shouldn’t every month be about career and technology education?

For more than 100 years, Oklahoma’s system of career and technology education has focused on improving Oklahoma’s economy by offering individuals the training and skills necessary to be successful in the workplace and providing companies with the required workforce necessary to compete globally.

Watch Dr. Marcie Mack, State Director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, discuss the exciting opportunities that CareerTech offers…

 

 

Preparing Oklahoma Students for the Workforce

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.

Marcie-Mack11x14-X2

Dr. Marcie Mack

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.

Basic Foundational Skill Sets

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.

« Older Entries