Category Archives: Economic Development

Business and Industry Services Programs Guide

bis map cover

Business and Industry Services are Oklahoma’s tools for economic and workforce development.

This division, of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, works with technology center districts to provide 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.

Click HERE to download a copy of the new BIS Programs Guide and discover which programs are available across Oklahoma’s 29 technology center districts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAREERTECH: Changing the conversation

Dr. Marcie MackWhat 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.

This is CareerTech

A look at the various delivery arms of Oklahoma CareerTech and the impact those have on Oklahoma’s education and business communities.

 

 

Business and Industry Services Through Technology Centers Make a Difference

BISOklahoma’s CareerTech technology centers continue to make strides in providing business and industry services to more than 7,800 companies. The services help companies expand and improve operations by providing customized training and organizational development opportunities.

Economic development resources include training for industry programs for new, existing and growing companies as well as funding for training volunteer firefighters and for safety and health. Our agricultural business management and small business management services and incubators provide entrepreneurial consulting and training across the state.

The Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network assists companies with contracting with local, state, federal and tribal governments.

CareerTech key player in Oklahoma’s economic development, growth

logoOklahoma CareerTech is a key player in economic development and has a part in several statewide initiatives to help Oklahoma’s economy grow.

CareerTech has taken roles in Oklahoma Works, New Skills for Youth, Launch Oklahoma, Earn and Learn, the Governor’s Workforce Council and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The goal of all is to equip Oklahomans for careers and provide employees for business and industry in the state.

Those goals, of course, fall right in line with what Oklahoma CareerTech is about, so it makes sense that we partner with other state entities in these efforts.

CareerTech works with state agencies in the areas of health, education, corrections, commerce, rehabilitation, veterans affairs, employment and more, along with regional business leaders across the state, including chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, Native American tribes and other community-based organizations, to achieve these goals.

Thanks to the efforts of everyone in the CareerTech System, we are ahead of our goal to increase the number of CareerTech education industry credentials to 13,806 by 2018. In FY2017, individuals earned more than 15,000 industry-recognized certifications and credentials.

But we — and our partners — are not stopping because the need for these workers is growing and will continue to grow. By 2025, most Oklahoma jobs will require some kind of postsecondary credential, certificate or degree.

Launch Oklahoma’s goal is to increase the number of Oklahomans ages 25 to 64 with education or training beyond high school to 70 percent by 2025. Oklahoma CareerTech is naturally a part of that effort. Through 391 K-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 Skills Centers campuses and 31 adult basic education service providers, we provide opportunities for adults and high school and middle school students to obtain education and engage in meaningful careers aligned with individual goals and industry demands.

Oklahoma CareerTech is also involved in New Skills for Youth, a grant through the Oklahoma State Department of Education, and Earn and Learn, a work-based learning program. We are working with these agencies and businesses to help Oklahoma students become productive citizens.

CareerTech has representatives on the Governor’s Workforce Council committees and subcommittees dedicated to supporting students and businesses. Goals include individualized career and academic plans for students in prekindergarten through 12th grade, expanding character education, creating a Career-Ready School designation and ensuring that Oklahoma’s education system is delivering workers who have the skills employers need.

Helping students discover careers they love and helping them learn the skills they need to enter those careers is vital to developing Oklahoma’s economy — as is providing employees with the skills that business and industry need now and will need in the future.

Accomplishing these tasks requires cooperation and effort from multiple entities. Oklahoma CareerTech is an integral partner in moving these efforts forward. More importantly, Oklahoma CareerTech helps Oklahomans be successful.

Why are industry credentials important?

Oklahoma has 1,670,046 jobs by industry, and the number is projected to grow 7.8 percent to 1,946,040 by 2025. This aggressive growth projection reinforces the need for all Oklahomans to have the skills and knowledge necessary to be productively engaged in the workplace. The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides programs and services that support Oklahoma’s job growth for each of the key business ecosystems identified by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

The specific needs of the current workforce and the workforce projected to exist in 2025 indicate a majority of workers will need certificates, credentials or associate degrees to maintain the growth of Oklahoma’s economy. Business and industry require and will continue to require a qualified workforce.

What is a credential?

An education- and work-related credential, which could include a license or certificate, can be defined as a verification of an individual’s qualification or competence issued by a third party with the relevant authority to issue such credentials (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010).

To ensure an educated and skilled workforce, many industries and educational entities have successfully developed and implemented industry-recognized credentials to connect individuals to the skills they need to enter into and advance in jobs. Many credentials are stackable, meaning they can build on previous competencies and skills through an individual’s lifetime.

Credential Types:

Certificate

  • Awarded upon the successful completion of a brief course of study, usually one year or less but at times longer.
  • Upon completion of a course of study, a certificate does not require any further action to retain.

Certification

  • Awarded by a professional organization or other nongovernmental body.
  • Is not legally required to work in an occupation.
  • Requires demonstrating competency to do a specific job, often through an examination process.

License

  • Awarded by a governmental licensing agency.
  • Gives legal authority to work in an occupation.
  • Requires meeting predetermined criteria, such as having a degree or passing a state-administered exam.

Degree

  • An award or title conferred upon an individual for the completion of a program or courses of study over multiple years at postsecondary education institutions.

Through ODCTE leadership, agency operations, dissemination of best practices and multiple delivery arms, Oklahoma CareerTech strives to increase student educational attainment of industry credentials. (In FY16, Oklahoma students earned 15,152 industry credentials.)

The value of credentials

It is imperative that the educational process focus on successful outcomes that provide individuals with the skills and abilities to enter the workforce and/ or enter postsecondary education. For example, completion of industry-recognized certifications and credentials enables individuals to work in highwage, high-demand occupations. The certifications/ credentials that students receive are an essential component to decreasing the educational gap that blocks a more vibrant Oklahoma economy. Oklahoma’s future hinges on business and industry’s ability to successfully compete in a global economy. A highly skilled workforce is essential for success in today’s challenging business environment.

Socioeconomic mobility

To further demonstrate the importance of credentials, the 2016 national data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed employed people were more likely to hold an active certification or license (25.0 percent) than unemployed people (12.5 percent) or those who were not in the labor force (6.0 percent). People who held certifications or licenses also had a lower unemployment rate than those who did not (2.5 percent versus 5.6 percent, respectively). Workers with certifications or licenses also earned 35.0 percent more than those who did not hold such credentials ($1,032 versus $765 respectively).

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