In 2019, more than 120,000 Oklahoma students in grades 6 through 12 were enrolled in an Oklahoma CareerTech program. These students explore and experience potential careers in hands-on learning environments in 394 PK-12 school districts across Oklahoma.
Category Archives: K-12 Education
The 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.
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.
A key component to developing a high quality workforce is to make certain our students have the opportunity to strengthen their employability skills. CareerTech student organizations do just that throughout our programs. CTSOs are integrated into CareerTech programs. Student organizations provide opportunities for personal growth and scholastic achievement, as well as developing skills in public speaking, planning and organizing.
Members work on various community projects, competitive events and leadership activities and meet other students who share similar interests. Many students enjoy membership in more than one group.
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.
The 52nd Annual Oklahoma Summit (formerly CareerTech Summer Conference) is scheduled Thursday and Friday, Aug. 1-2, 2019, at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. The CareerTech Expo is held in conjunction with the summit. If you have questions about the 2019 Oklahoma Summit, contact Andrea Hancock at .
Oklahoma CareerTech launched a new online career awareness program for elementary students on March 12. The Galaxy program, a component of OK Career Guide, is for students in grades preK-5. Galaxy will be unveiled at the For Counselors Only Conference at Tulsa Technology Center’s Owasso campus.
The program combines games, activities and experiences for today’s tech-savvy learners, and is accessible from laptops, desktops and tablets. It uses an outer space theme, including astronauts and spaceships. Students launch into planets, which represent different work environments.
“It’s a fast-paced, interactive program that makes career awareness fun and engaging,” said Cori Gray, CareerTech deputy state director.
Lawton Public Schools Counselor Amy Wilcox said Galaxy encourages students to explore both traditional and nontraditional careers. Wilcox was part of a group that beta-tested the program before its official launch.
“Our students love the program,” Wilcox said. “Galaxy helps their self-esteem and encourages them to become more goal-oriented.”
The system begins with the basic concept of “What is work?” Each year the program builds on that concept, including what people do at work, why they work, what tools and skills they will use for work and how students can prepare for work. By fifth grade, students can investigate specific occupations.
“We’re just letting kids explore what’s out there,” said Lawton Assistant Principal Starla Reed.
In addition to career awareness, Galaxy’s activities integrate academic skills. It emphasizes the importance of reading and writing, and the games show how math, science and social studies fit into the world of work.
Reed said the program is designed to connect to the Individual Career Academic Plan required by Oklahoma state law. Beginning with the freshmen of 2018-19 (graduates of 2023), all Oklahoma students must have an ICAP to graduate. The ICAP guides them as they explore career, academic and post-secondary opportunities, and must be updated annually. A personal portfolio allows students to create meaningful career pathways and prepares them to be career- and college-ready.
Galaxy, a product of Kuder, makes OK Career Guide appropriate for Oklahomans of all ages in all stages of life. OK Career Guide is a statewide career development education system that offers research-based assessments that help users identify interests, skills and values. The system identifies training and education needs for each occupation and a database of schools that offer the necessary education for that career.
Parents and families can learn about Galaxy at.
ODCTE’s state appropriations request for fiscal year 2020 for the first regular session of the 57th Oklahoma Legislature targets narrowing Oklahoma’s skills gap through the proposed increase of $21 million that would allow CareerTech to achieve the following:
- Fund more than 130 unfunded programs and provide for 90 new programs to be added to K-12 CareerTech offerings.
- Add 12 new programs in state correctional facilities that would serve 500 to 600 more inmates.
- Increase Training for Industry Programs by 10 percent to more than 3,200 enrollments.
- Increase customized training by 10 percent to almost 300,000 enrollments.
- Increase certifications/credentials annually by 5 percent, adding almost 2,400 more during three years.
“Oklahoma has a skills gap, and CareerTech has a solution,” said Marcie Mack, ODCTE state director. “Investing in CareerTech will produce more skilled workers for existing, unfilled Oklahoma jobs. It will invigorate program offerings in our K-12 schools and technology centers. It powers training programs for Oklahoma businesses, and it gives our incarcerated students a second chance at life.”
As a part of the appropriations request, $11.8 million would go toward paying the state’s obligation to fund the required health benefit allowance. If the state funds the current requirement, Mack said, it will immediately free up that amount to be redirected to CareerTech classrooms.
The appropriations request seeks a 14.8 percent increase over the FY19 budget of $120.4 million. While funds did increase in FY19 from FY18 levels, in the last 10 years Oklahoma CareerTech education has seen an overall reduction in general appropriations by 28 percent.
Industry leaders from across sectors that provide significant impact to Oklahoma’s economy emphasized the need to increase investments in career-ready education as a primary component of moving Oklahoma forward.
“The strongest pipeline to meet the demand in the agriculture industry is through CareerTech agricultural education and the FFA,” said Brent Kisling, Enid Regional Development Alliance executive director. “This investment in agricultural education, as well as other K-12 CareerTech programs would provide direct funding to classroom resources.
“I truly have never seen a more valuable program than Oklahoma FFA when it comes to instilling leadership and work ethic in our youth. CareerTech student organizations across the board add the workplace elements that help to make students successful. These programs are vital to training future generations.”
CareerTech’s skills gap solutions also help attract new businesses to the state and help existing businesses expand. In 2018 the CareerTech System served more than 6,900 companies, helping their employees gain new skills and adding new jobs to the Oklahoma economy.
“Solving the skills gap is at the forefront of an economic transformation pushing our state forward. CareerTech and their capabilities in upskilling workers, customizing training for industry and growing a pipeline of skilled workers is essential to keeping Oklahoma on the map for expanding and attracting companies to the state,” said David Stewart, chief administrative officer for MidAmerica Industrial Park and member of the State Board of Career and Technology Education.
Michael Culwell, campus director in Poteau at Kiamichi Technology Centers and president of the Oklahoma Association for Career and Technology Education, said, “Programs like welding technology, which give our students a high-quality wage for construction and manufacturing jobs that are in high demand in our area, should be expanded. The value of these programs and other CareerTech industry training programs are a priority to keeping Oklahoma’s future bright.”
Other items in the 2020 agenda include enriching work-based learning experiences, expanding professional development for CareerTech professionals and deploying new technology for career awareness. For an itemized list of all FY20 funding requests view the business plan and annual report for FY18 details.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA’S CAREERTECH SYSTEM
Oklahoma’s Career and Technology Education System is focused on developing a world-class workforce. This comprehensive system delivers educational experiences through 393 K-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 Skills Centers sites and 31 adult basic education providers and to more than 6,900 businesses. CareerTech’s mission is clear: to improve Oklahoma’s economy by providing individuals with the training and skills necessary to be successful in the workplace and by providing companies with the required workforce to compete globally. We are faced with a skills gap, and CareerTech has a solution.
For more about CareerTech visit
Learn more about the difference CareerTech makes for students.
The State of Oklahoma issues the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™ as an assessment-based credential powered by ACT WorkKeys®.
The ACT National Career Readiness Certificate is an industry-recognized, portable, research-based credential that certifies essential skills needed for workplace success.
This credential is used across all sectors of the economy and documents the following cognitive skills:
- Critical thinking.
- Reading and using work-related text.
- Applying information from workplace documents to solve problems.
- Applying mathematical reasoning to work-related problems.
- Setting up and performing work-related mathematical calculations.
- Locating, synthesizing, and applying information that is presented graphically.
- Comparing, summarizing, and analyzing information presented in multiple related graphics.
Individuals can earn the ACT NCRC by taking three WorkKeys® assessments.
- Applied Math
- Graphic Literacy
- Workplace Documents
WorkKeys assessments measure real-world skills that employers believe are critical to job success.
Click HERE to learn more about OKCRCs!
“In a way, WorkKeys assists in turning the art of hiring the right candidate into more of a science. As a science-based company, that is very important to us.” – Pam Maguire, Sr. Human Resources Manager – Astellas Pharma Technologies, Inc.
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.
Lawson Thompson – Carney Public Schools
Ag educator says students gain “purpose, preparedness, and professionalism.”
THEN: A self-described sports fanatic growing up in a small town, in a sports-minded family. Lawson Thompson aspired to play college sports, like his mom, dad and brother had done. That was before he got involved in agricultural education. In his senior year at Deer Creek-Lamont High School, Lawson decided to give up sports to dedicate his energy toward his new passion, FFA. He served as a state officer that year and went on to Oklahoma State University for a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences and natural resources. Lawson said devoting himself to agricultural education and FFA was one of the greatest choices of his life.
“It’s a lot more than cows, plows and sows,” he said. In FFA, Lawson developed skills he uses every day, including
- Communication – the value of clearly communicating with people of all ages in various settings, as well as public speaking.
- Leadership – how to be a better leader, mentor and role model.
- Time management – active participation in numerous ag and non-ag activities helped him learn how to manage his time.
“I utilize skills I gained from agricultural education/FFA every day,” Lawson said. “I would not be an effective educator, mentor, husband or person if I didn’t understand values such as hard work, dedication, discipline, leadership and service.”
NOW: Agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at Carney Public Schools. Lawson’s FFA chapter was chosen as one of the top 10 chapters in the country. His students also nominated him for KFOR-TV’s Thankful 4 Teachers award, and he was one of the top 10 nominees in the state. Sponsor Air Comfort Solutions recognized Lawson with a $5,000 check.
“I strongly believe that if an employer interviews a candidate who came through any one of CareerTech’s eight student organizations (FFA, FCCLA, HOSA, DECA, TSA, BPA, SkillsUSA or NTHS) and one who did not, that candidate who was a CTSO member will get the job 10 times out of 10.”
Lawson Thompson, agricultural education instructor
(former Oklahoma FFA state officer, former Oklahoma CareerTech ag education intern)