Category Archives: Economic Development

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.

Oklahoma Technology Centers Virtually Teaching Students, Helping Businesses

Working remotely and having adjusted work environments to fight COVID-19 doesn’t DeliveryArms.jpjgmean Oklahoma CareerTech’s delivery arms have stopped offering services.

Like the state’s preK-12th grade public schools, CareerTech’s statewide network of technology centers has entered the world of distance learning for its secondary and postsecondary students. The tech centers are continuing to provide education — including classes and assignments — through web-based technology and, if needed, paper packets.

An auto collision and refinishing instructor at Metro Technology Centers in Oklahoma City is allowing students to see what he is working on with live feeds from his shop at his home. A diesel technology instructor at Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee is creating videos of repairs he is doing in his own shop in addition to having Zoom meetings, assignments and quizzes.

“The good from this is finding yet another way to teach,” said Ed Jolly of Gordon Cooper Tech.

A service careers instructor at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s El Reno campus has created YouTube instructional videos and is giving his students assignments based on each video’s information. Some are hands-on, like mowing lawns or using certain landscape tools, said instructor Jayson Floyd, and others are written.

Some of his students, however, do not have internet access, he said.

“For those students, I will be calling them three times a week and directing them to a hands-on activity they can perform within their house that is related to what I teach,” he said.

ODCTE is posting tech centers’ distance learning plans at okcareer.tech/Techplans. Students can contact their technology centers to receive information about the tech center’s distance learning plans and requirements.

In addition, the technology centers continue to offer training to Oklahoma business and industry clients when possible. Businesses with workforce training needs can contact their local technology centers to explore distance learning options.

To help support career and technology educators across the state, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education has instructional resources, okcareer.tech/CTinstruct, and guidance on financial, educational and other issues as well at okcareer.tech/CTFAQs.

“Oklahoma CareerTech is here to support our stakeholders, and we will make it through this situation together while continuing to provide education that meets the needs of our students and our state,” said Marcie Mack, ODCTE state director.

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.

Oklahoma CareerTech: Developing a World-Class Workforce

Oklahoma’s Career and Technology Education System is focused on developing a world-class workforce. This comprehensive system delivers educational experiences through 394 PK-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 Skills Centers sites and 32 adult basic education providers and to more than 6,900 businesses.

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What It Takes – Duncan Regional Hospital

It takes partnerships to power our economy. Check out how Oklahoma CareerTech works with Duncan Regional Hospital to train the workers they need, from the area they serve.

Tri County Tech partners with Boys & Girls Club of Nowata for Success

Nowata Boys and Girls Club

The Boys & Girls Club of Nowata and Tri County Tech have announced a partnership to construct a joint-use facility in Nowata aimed at inspiring children and adults to achieve their full potential by providing quality youth development services and life changing learning experiences.

The state-of-the-art facility, approximately 22,500 square feet in size, will be constructed at the site of the existing Boys & Girls Club. This facility will include dedicated spaces for both Tri County and the Boys & Girls Club of Nowata, along with shared spaces such as classrooms, a commercial kitchen and community meeting rooms.

“Tri County’s presence in Nowata will help spur economic development for existing and future businesses by providing a state-of-the-art training facility. Partnering with the Boys & Girls Club will provide young people with a unique opportunity for a life-changing learning experience. We are excited about this initiative and look forward to watching Nowata thrive.”

Lindel Fields   |   Tri County Tech Superintendent & CEO

Oklahoma Educator and Industry Partnerships

Oklahoma Educator and Industry Partnerships (OEIP) is the ultimate educator/industry connection. Its mission is to create a pipeline for partnerships among teachers, counselors, administrators, parents, students, policymakers and the economic development community.

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.

CareerTech Champions

HennigesAutomotive

Lana Anderson lectures to Intro to Manufacturing class at Henniges Automotive.

Henniges Automotive – Great Plains Technology Center

CareerTech partnership is driving force behind auto parts manufacturer.

THEN: In the tiny town of Frederick, Oklahoma, Henniges Automotive manufactures parts for companies like GM, Ford and BMW. It’s a thriving company that has been around for four decades. With only 4,000 people living in the blue collar community, however, it has been tough to find enough qualified employees to keep up with the company’s growth.

Henniges recently formed a partnership with Great Plains Technology Center, and together they created an Intro to Manufacturing class that is offered several times a year. Great Plains hosts the class, as well as

  • Helping recruit new students.
  • Providing an instructor for six hours of safety training.
  • Providing teaching assistance for the certification instructor (who had no previous classroom experience).

Working with Great Plains, the novice certification instructor was able to build a class schedule, create a syllabus and make a smooth transition into teaching.

NOW: The manufacturing class has helped Henniges reduce both turnover and absenteeism. Having employees who pay for the six-week certification class shows their commitment to the job. It also increases the employees’ knowledge once they’re hired.

“The safety training allows new employees to help maintain the culture of safety expected in the plant.”

Chase Massie, Henniges human resources manager

Central Tech Training Facility a Model for Other States

Central Tech

Central Technology Center opened Oklahoma’s first oil and gas pipeline and storage training facility in 2011 to meet the training needs of the industry.

The oil and gas industry has a growing need of well-trained and highly skilled workers.

Central Tech’s programs help fill that need in several ways:

  • Provide employees with OQ certifications necessary to work in the oil and gas industry.
  • Provide students with a career pathway to benefit their future.
  • Aid companies in expanding their workforce.
  • Assist small companies in obtaining certifications.
  • Provide security and safety training to maintain Oklahoma’s safe work environments.

The training facilities include a fully simulated oil and gas storage facility with control center monitoring; pipeline maintenance equipment; CAT backhoe and excavator simulators; and computer systems.

ODCTE Offers Career Planning Resources

Basic RGB

Not sure how to research an occupation or plan your education to your chosen career? Need some help planning your job search, like preparing your resume or learning interviewing tips? OK Career Guide, Oklahoma’s statewide career system supported by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, can help.

The online system, which launched Aug. 21, 2015, is built specifically for Oklahoma. It serves a wide audience and provides data to administrators. Oklahoma schools and all Oklahomans have access to the online tool at no cost.

OK Career Guide allows users to achieve the following:

  • Develop career awareness.
  • Develop individual career plans.
  • Create online portfolios.
  • Take assessments.
  • Explore careers.
  • Research and link to post-secondary schools.
  • Locate scholarships.
  • Set career goals.
  • Connect to business and industry.
  • Build resumes and cover letters.
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