Category Archives: Employability Skills

CareerTech Champions

Desirae Woodward – ABE and Central Technology Center

NOW when she goes to a restaurant, she can sit and relax.

THEN: A waitress and a single mom. Desirae Woodward had dropped out of high school as a sophomore, and waiting tables was all she had ever done. Irregular work hours forced her to miss many of her children’s activities, and her job didn’t provide health benefits.

Food service was her only marketable skill, and even though she enjoyed her job, Woodward wanted more. In 2019, she enrolled in the adult basic education program at Central Technology Center. Determined to build a career for herself, she received her HiSET high school equivalency diploma a year later.

“I wanted to set a good example for my kids,” she said.

At Central Tech, Woodward

  • Gained computer skills and became more familiar with technology.
  • Developed good study skills and habits, which improved her testing scores.
  • Learned how to create a resume, which helped her land a job.

“I also gained confidence in herself and what I am capable of,” she said.

Having a diploma opened up doors for Woodward.

“I was able to apply for jobs I couldn’t apply for without a diploma or a GED,” she said.

She used that diploma to get a job at Central Tech. She said she uses her new skills every day.

NOW: No longer a waitress. Woodward said she has a “normal” job with great hours, working as secretary and classroom aide for Central Tech’s truck driver training program. She answers and directs calls, inputs student and class information, prepares graduation materials and orients incoming students. She receives on-the-job training in Word, Excel, Outlook, SharePoint and Lumatech software.

Woodward’s new job offers health benefits, and she gets to spend more time with her kids.

“CareerTech changed my life,” she said, adding that now, she gets to do her part to improve the lives of others.

She’s not finished learning. Woodward said she wants to build on her current skills and learn “any new thing thrown my way.”

“I want to raise my kids and just be happy,” she said.

“I want my kids to know you can do anything you set your mind to.”

Desirae Woodward, high school grad and Central Tech employee

February is Career and Technical Education Appreciation Month

During a year of pandemic changes, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education kept its focus on helping Oklahomans succeed while adding new programs in response to new needs.

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.

“Oklahoma CareerTech continues to deliver high quality education despite the pandemic. We remain laser-focused on the multiple career paths for students and meeting the workforce needs of businesses and industries in the state,” said ODCTE State Director Marcie Mack. “The work of Oklahoma CareerTech across the state provides meaningful results for Oklahoma’s economy.”

Oklahoma CareerTech expanded its programs in response to the pandemic as it continued its focus on filling skills gaps for both employees and employers in the state.

ODCTE worked with partners to launch several new educational initiatives in 2020, including a new energy career cluster to promote the benefits of pursuing careers in energy; online meat processing courses to fill a workforce shortage in the meat processing industry; and a mobile meat processing laboratory.

ODCTE worked with the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing to revamp a nurse refresher course to get nurses back in the field faster. In addition, technology center nursing students across the state assisted with COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics.

The CareerTech Testing Center worked with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association to offer certification exams for veterinary assistants and with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to use the Oklahoma Peace Officer Screening and Selection Exam developed by CTTC for OHP Academy applicants.

Oklahoma CareerTech also launched VirtualJobShadow.com to introduce more state students — more than 16,000 in 20 PK-12 and technology center districts — to nontraditional careers. The platform is ideal for schools and students doing virtual and distance learning because it is video-based.

When Oklahoma’s schools pivoted to distance learning in the spring of 2020, instructors in the 29 technology center districts and the 399 PK-12 school districts with CareerTech courses developed ways to help their students continue learning to finish the year. ODCTE offered additional instructional resources and guidance to tech centers and schools to help them with distance learning.

CareerTech students and teachers across the state also donated medical supplies, masks and more to help frontline pandemic workers.

Employees in CareerTech’s 13 skills centers, which operate in Oklahoma’s correctional and juvenile detention facilities, developed new processes that will better serve graduates; reduce barriers to reintegration; and improve communication, teamwork and probability of graduate success.

During a year of pivots caused by the pandemic, Oklahoma CareerTech was able to stay true to its mission of preparing Oklahomans to succeed in the workplace, in education and in life and expand its offerings to meet new needs in new ways.

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.

CareerTech by the Numbers in Fiscal Year 2020

  • 399 PK-12 school districts with 1,399 teachers and 132,532 enrollments
  • 29 technology center districts with 58 campuses, 1,306 teachers and 310,285 enrollments
  • 37 percent of sixth through 12th grade 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 86,000 students in co-curricular CareerTech student organizations: FFA; Family, Careers and Community Leaders of America; SkillsUSA; Technology Student Association; Business Professionals of America; HOSA; and DECA
  • 18,685 industry-endorsed certificates earned
  • 13 skills centers with 35 teachers and 1,541 enrollments
  • 32 adult basic education providers at 111 sites serving 10,768 students
  • 297 students earning high school diplomas in dropout recovery program
  • 7,295 industries served by business and industry training
  • 1,767 new jobs with training from ODCTE Business and Industry Services Division
  • $390 million secured by state companies in government contracts with help from Oklahoma Procurement Technical Assistance Center

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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Free Instructional Resources

The Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement has several free instructional resources available for students and teachers, from an employability guide to lessons in infection, immunology and sanitation.

Employability

Financial Literacy

Ag Ed Shop Project Plans

Health Science

Additional Resources

CareerTech Skills Centers – Preparing Oklahomans to Succeed in the Workplace, in Education and in Life.

With 16 sites across Oklahoma, the Oklahoma CareerTech Skills Centers division turns tax users into taxpayers. We provide inmate training while addressing the state’s skills gap.

Industry Experts Gather at BMITE Industry Futuring Panels

More than 40 industry experts discussed business trends and skill sets needed to satisfy Oklahoma’s future employment needs at Oklahoma CareerTech’s Business, Marketing and IT Education Division’s first Industry Futuring Panels.

BMITE Industry Futuring Panels

Industry experts talk about business trends and needed skills at an Oklahoma CareerTech Business, Marketing and IT Education Division Industry Futuring Panel

BMITE hosted the think tank groups earlier this month at Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Business Innovation Campus. Participants discussed business trends affecting employees’ needed skill sets, skills necessary for workplace success, emerging careers and career pathways and big-picture topics employees need to know

MBA Research, a national career and technology education consultant, organized and facilitated three futuring panels for the business management, finance and marketing cluster areas. Oklahoma is a consortium member of MBA Research and uses the industry-validated national standards developed through its nationwide industry connections. MBA Research will compile all of the panels’ input and its research into a comprehensive report that will help refocus the efforts to build relevant career pathways.

Hussain Ali, state BPA officer from Putnam City High School, and Austin Long and Xavier Hamilton, state DECA officers from Latta High School, spoke to the groups about the connection CareerTech has with students. The officers’ input generated interest in the student organizations and how the industry representatives could get involved and support BPA/DECA activities.

Meals for the three days were sponsored by Gooden Group, Chickasaw Nation and donations collected by the Latta DECA chapter. Refreshments were sponsored by the OKACTE/BMITE teacher organization. A special thanks to these sponsors!

CareerTech Skills Centers

The CareerTech Skills Centers School System is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Skills Centers specialize in the delivery of career and technology education to inmates under the supervision of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and juveniles under the supervision of the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs. The Skills Centers division is also responsible for the state’s secondary dropout recovery initiatives.

Skills Center Enrollments-Welder FY16-1198x599The CareerTech Skills Centers (CTSC) began operations in February of 1971 as the Inmate Training division of the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education, now the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

During our 40+ years of serving incarcerated offenders in Oklahoma, Skills Centers have evolved from a division with a few occupational training programs to a large school system with a multitude of programs and services for both adult and juvenile offenders. The school system began at the Jim E. Hamilton CareerTech Skills Center inside the Jim E. Hamilton (formerly Ouachita) Correctional Center in Hodgen, Okla. Today, the CTSC offers services in state correctional facilities, juvenile detention facilities and community correctional facilities.

A successful transition from corrections to the workplace can mean a life of success for ex-offenders. To prepare offenders for successful transition, career technical education, employability and life skills are integrated into this educational delivery system. Skills centers students may seek certifications recognized by both state and national industries. Career Readiness Credentials (CRC) may be secured documenting work readiness skills many business and industry employers seek. The CTSC provides students with numerous interconnected and integrated components, each an integral part of preparing offenders for success in the workplace and in society.

The CTSC works in conjunction with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) and Oklahoma Correctional Industries (OCI) to offer three U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, registered apprenticeship programs for offenders. These programs are each three-to-four years in length and are in the areas of meat-cutting, commercial food preparation and cabinet building.

In 1996, the CTSC entered into an agreement with the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) to provide training to juvenile offenders detained in Oklahoma facilities. The CTSC and OJA have partnered with the Associated General Contractors (AGC). The AGC, through its member contractors, also assists the CTSC in development of appropriate curriculum and learning activities.

The intent of this division of CareerTech is to continue to evolve as business and industry changes. The goal is to provide educational services that will cause skills centers students to seek and find success in the workplace and in society.

For more information click here: Skills Centers

CareerTech Skills Centers – Changing Lives

At the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech, our Skills Centers division offers job training to juveniles under the supervision of the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs. Programs like Cedar Canyon teach both job skills and life skills.

 

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.