Category Archives: Instruction

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Cammi Valdez – Enid Schools – DECA and TSA

From TSA to Ph.D., Harvard scientist urges girls to pursue STEM careers.

THEN: At Emerson Junior High School in Enid, Cammi Valdez followed her sister’s lead

CammiValdez

Cammi Valdez – Enid Schools (TSA and DECA)

and got involved in CareerTech student organizations. She eventually served as a state officer in both Technology Student Association and DECA, and by the time she graduated from Enid High School she had competed in everything from building balsa wood gliders to public speaking. That technology education and TSA involvement – as well as an influential instructor and mentor – were the first steps on her way to a career in science, technology, engineering and math. Cammi earned both a B.S. Professional degree in chemistry and a B.S. in mathematics in just four years at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and she received a Ph.D. in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University.

She says she still draws from her experiences in TSA and DECA, including:

  • Leadership qualities she learned as a state officer. (At SWOSU she became president of the math honor society and her chemistry club, and at Harvard she held a number of leadership roles on her graduate student council, including two years as president.)
  • Public speaking and networking.
  • A love of all things STEM.

NOW: Assistant director for undergraduate research and fellowships at Harvard, she runs a fellowship program primarily for humanities and social sciences students – from underrepresented backgrounds – who are interested in careers in academia. She also runs a summer research program that prepares undergrads for STEM-related graduate programs.

Cammi says a STEM background can lead to job security, intellectual stimulation and more career opportunities than ever.

“The biomedical sciences field is exploding,” she said. “And the world is also becoming more reliant on computer science.”

The Harvard scientist has become a role model for young women considering a career in STEM.

 

“I remember having teachers who told me you don’t need to be good at math or science because you’re a girl…I hope students today have access to people who say, ‘You CAN do it.’”

Cammi Valdez, biomedical scientist at Harvard University

 

Farm-to-fork, with a twist

From farm to fork, Vinita FFA members serve up fresh, healthy options from their food truck and catering business.

 

They catered more than 4,500 dinners last year, including about 20 weddings. They have a successful farm-to-fork food truck. They even have their own farmers market, where they sell fresh produce, meat, dairy products, eggs, baked goods and their own homemade salsa.

A company like this would be no big deal in a metropolitan area, but this company is a pretty big deal. It’s based in a town of just over 5,000 people, and its employees are high school students. If the company had a CEO, it would be Carolyn Piguet, who also happens to be the agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at Vinita High School.

Vinita’s FFA chapter purchased the food truck in 2017, and from March to September Piguet and her students set up each week at the student-run farmers market. They offered made-from-scratch breakfasts, including their now-famous homemade fritters. Once customers tasted the peach, blueberry, apple and pumpkin pastries, they were hooked.

Piguet hasn’t always taught agriculture. Before coming to Vinita’s ag ed program she taught science and was a school counselor, testing coordinator and even a school principal. This latest chapter in her career unites all of her passions.

“I love agriculture,” she said, “and there’s not a better scenario in which to build leadership, independence and project gratification than in agriculture.”

More than corn and crops

The food truck and farmers market are built around her chapter members’ individual projects. They bring their products to the market and receive payment for their efforts. In addition to agricultural concepts, they learn planning, production, catering, marketing and communication.

Piguet also has students involved in vinyl sign-making, welding, wood projects, wildlife and more. She says she tries to help students find projects that match their interests.

“We’re breaking the stereotype that everybody has to have an animal or everybody has to be growing a crop, because there are so many more things in agriculture than just the production end of it,” she said.

There is quite a bit of growing going on, however. The FFA chapter uses land provided by a community member to grow a chapter garden each year. Last year the farmers market sold close to 500 pounds of tomatoes, 11,000 ears of corn, nearly 200 dozen eggs, three beef carcasses and more than four pork carcasses, sold by the cut.

Through the farmers market and the catering business, students learn money management, record keeping, licensing and customer service. They take health department food-safety classes as well as chapter instruction to learn how to prepare, present and market their food products, all the while tying it back to agricultural education.

The FFA members aren’t the only ones learning through the farm-to-fork program. The Vinita community also benefits, according to Piguet, through increased availability of clean products and awareness of healthy foods. The farmers market also provides a community event the whole town can enjoy.

The farmers market is closed for the winter, but the Vinita FFA catering team offers several year-round menu options for special events. You can order the traditional pulled pork and barbecue brisket dinner, of course, but they can also take it up a notch. One sit-down dinner option includes smoked tri-tip, rosemary chicken breast, baby bakers, bacon-wrapped green bean bundles and wedge salad with blue cheese and balsamic reduction. And of course they’re prepared to satisfy a diner’s sweet tooth, with offerings such as butter cake with chocolate ganache and chocolate molten cake.

Oklahoma FFA is one of seven co-curricular student organizations associated with the Oklahoma CareerTech System. These organizations provide opportunities for personal growth and scholastic achievement, as well as developing skills in public speaking, planning and organizing. The other organizations are BPA, DECA, FCCLA, HOSA, SkillsUSA, and TSA.

The Agricultural Education Division, of the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech, administers agricultural education offerings in 360 high schools. These programs prepare students for careers in production agriculture, agribusiness and other emerging agricultural-related occupations.

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, 395 comprehensive school districts,15 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 30 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.

Oklahomans honored for ‘Making It Work’

OCTEECThe Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council honored 15 Oklahomans and eight Oklahoma businesses and nonprofit organizations at the 24th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol on March 29.

Making It Work Day recognizes individuals who are committed to removing barriers to success for single-parent families by providing educational experiences for students beyond the classroom. The ceremony also recognized nontraditional students and members who received national honors for their efforts.

Nine students were recognized from the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and award presentations to individuals, businesses and organizations were made at a luncheon at the Oklahoma History Center.

OkCTEEC is affiliated with the administrative division of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. The council advocates for students pursuing nontraditional careers and for resources for educating single parents.

“OkCTEEC believes in the phrase, “It takes a village,” and wants to recognize all those who have helped nontraditional students find success. OkCTEEC serves as a unifying council for all personnel serving displaced homemakers, single parents and pregnant women, nontraditional students, at-risk students, teen parents and pregnant teens. The Making It Work Day award ceremony is an event that recognizes and honors all the dedicated and hardworking students, programs and community or business partners that have worked so hard throughout the year to see students’ dreams come to fruition,” said KayTee Niquette, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

She serves as an adviser for OkCTEEC, along with Lisa French of the Department of Human Services and Gina McPherson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

“Making It Work Day at the Capitol is an opportunity to recognize the success of outstanding students from colleges and career technology centers who contribute to making it work in Oklahoma, as well as those administrators, instructors and community partners who have worked to expand opportunities and improve outcomes through their dedicated and invaluable services,” said Angela Barnes, OkCTEEC president and coordinator of the REACH and REACH4Work program at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. “It is a great day to let our state leaders, legislators and Oklahomans see the faces of those who go over and beyond at making a difference in our state.

“Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council is an organization devoted to equity in education and employment for disadvantaged groups. It is about providing real-life experiences for our students, developing leaders and maintaining relationships within communities.”

OkCTEEC’s purposes include promoting and supporting career and technology education, increasing its effectiveness, promoting research in the field and in educational equity, developing leadership and advocating for equity and diversity.

For more information about OkCTEEC, visit www.cteec.org/.

For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, visit www.okcareertech.org.

Articles about individual recipients can be found at: https://www.okcareertech.org/news/press-releases/2018/making-it-work-day-2018/.

Websites, Apps, and More

TA9214 2016 Web Book Cover.inddThe 9th edition of CIMC‘s web book (previously called Best of the Web) includes apps for both instructors and students that enhance the classroom experience, offer avenues for professional development, and assist instructors with student engagement and enhancement activities. This edition includes resources for CareerTech Student Organizations; Teaching, Advising & Career Information; Creativity; and Digital Tools, as well as websites for each career cluster.

Websites, Apps, and More can be downloaded for FREE, or purchased in packages of 10.

Download a free copy of Websites, Apps, and More
Purchase Websites, Apps, and More from our online catalog

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Porsha Lippincott

From living in a refrigerator box to repairing airplanes for Tinker Air Force Base.

THEN: A homeless high school dropout, living in a refrigerator box and working at Sonic. A counselor at Norman North High School learned of Porsha’s plight and connected her with an independent homeless shelter. She moved into an apartment, went back to school and saved enough money for a dilapidated car to drive to and from school. When that car broke down, she taught herself how to repair it. That motivated her to enroll in Moore Norman’s automotive technician training program after graduation. After completing that program she:

  • Earned her ASE certification.
  • Was referred to the aviation maintenance technician program at Metro Technology Centers.
  • Learned about assistance programs that would help her pay living expenses while she trained at Metro Tech.

NOW: A certified aviation maintenance technician, Porsha works at Tinker Air Force Base and is an instructor at Metro Technology Centers’ Aviation Campus. One of her process improvement ideas is already saving Tinker $2.5 million annually, which she considers a small way of paying back for all she has received from CareerTech and others.

Resources:

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).

Resources:

CareerTech offers inmates help and hope

welding-doc_378rsOklahoma CareerTech delivers help and hope to people incarcerated in Oklahoma’s prisons.

Through its Skills Centers School System, CareerTech offers specialized occupational training to adult and juvenile offenders under the supervision of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs.

Offenders learn skills in several areas, including transportation, distribution and logistics; construction; machining; auto service; heating and air conditioning; and business and information technology. These skills — and others — allow released offenders to transition successfully from the correctional system to the workplace, to support themselves and their families and to become taxpayers who are helping to support the Oklahoma economy.

In fiscal year 2017, the Skills Centers School System served 992 full-time students and 683 short-term students. During that year, 88.52 percent completers received jobs or continued their education.

Skills Centers instructors teach offenders the skills they need to get and keep jobs and live successfully in a community. The classes and instructors prepare the offenders to be productive, positive and professional citizens, according to one instructor at a juvenile facility.

Kent Roof, a CareerTech Skills Centers regional director, explains it as “a holistic approach to making our students successful.” And it is.

Oklahoma CareerTech Skills Centers instructors want the students to learn job skills and life skills, to be successful and not return to incarceration in the future. That’s where the strength of the Skills Centers lies: helping offenders develop the skills they need and helping them supply proof to potential employers of their skills and the changes they’ve made.

The Skills Centers help offenders prove their abilities through technical certifications and the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate, which shows abilities in solving problems, thinking critically, reading, applying information, using mathematics and other skills.

One former Eddie Warrior Correctional Center inmate explained that finding a job is hard because “employers want proof that you’ve changed, and when you’re first coming out of prison there’s no way to offer that.”

She earned a transportation, distribution and logistics certification while in the center and now works for the Cherokee Nation, counseling women who have backgrounds similar to hers. She’s also taking college classes to further her education.

Another former Eddie Warrior inmate went to work for a gas and electric company, earning $69 an hour. Her Skills Center education also helped her learn budgeting skills that helped her buy her first house without needing a loan.

That’s Oklahoma CareerTech’s mission: to prepare Oklahomans to succeed in the workplace, in education and in life. The Skills Centers School System delivers that mission to those who need a second chance and helps them achieve it.

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