Category Archives: K-12 Education

Oklahoma Celebrates Careers in Energy Week with Virtual Career Fair

Governor Stitt declares Oct. 18 – 22 Oklahoma Careers in Energy Week

Governor Kevin Stitt issued a proclamation recognizing October 18-22, 2021 as the second annual Oklahoma Careers in Energy Week. Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium is celebrating the week by promoting the benefits of pursuing careers in the industry. Energy is the highest-paying industry in the state, with an average salary of more than $109,000 annually, and employed more than 84,000 Oklahomans in 2021, according to the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development. Leading the industry, Oklahoma ranks fourth in the U.S. for wind energy employment, third for installed wind capacity, sixth for solar potential, is the third largest producer of natural gas, and is home to the world’s largest oil storage facility.

“Oklahoma’s all-of-the-above energy strategy makes us a national leader in oil, natural gas and wind production, which leads to a wide range of career opportunities for Oklahomans who are preparing to enter the job market,” Stitt said. “During Careers in Energy Week we celebrate those who work behind the scenes in Oklahoma’s energy industry and recognize all they do to keep our lights on, our homes comfortable, our cars running and our economy growing. I know our energy sector workers will continue to help this industry grow, innovate and provide needed services and products for our state and the world.”

OEWC first united in 2019 to help address upcoming nationwide shortages predicted for the energy industry by 2025. As part of this year’s celebration, the consortium is promoting the EnergyCareers 2021 Virtual Career Event being held October 20. The online-only event is hosted by the Center for Energy Workforce Development and aims to bring awareness to the diverse job opportunities in the energy sector as well as highlight and fill open positions in the industry.

“There are so many opportunities to work and serve our state through different energy services including utilities, renewable energy, oil and gas and more. We want to always be able to introduce our students to these opportunities in our community, and this collaboration is a great way to spur these conversations,” said Marcie Mack, state director of CareerTech. “The partnership between the energy industry and CareerTech helps us provide meaningful and tailored energy education programs to more Oklahomans, increasing their chances of entering a career in energy and boosting their earning potential.”

In addition to industry leaders, the consortium includes leaders from Oklahoma CareerTech, K-12 education, higher education and government and is focused on creating a pipeline of talented, diverse individuals to meet future needs within the state’s energy sector.

“Our public colleges and universities offer numerous degree paths to prepare graduates for employment in the energy sector,” said higher education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Increasing the number of degree-holders in STEM fields strengthens Oklahoma’s economy, and heightening awareness of those degree pathways is key to advancing educational attainment in our state’s critical occupations.”

Getting young Oklahomans excited about careers in energy is a top priority of the consortium, as developing future engineers, technicians, chemists, construction managers and many other important positions are key to sustaining the industry’s momentum.

“In Oklahoma, the energy industry plays a critical role in everyday life and we want all Oklahomans, particularly young people, to understand the incredible career opportunities in the industry,” said Sean Trauschke, chairman, president and CEO of OGE Energy Corp. “The partnership between the industry, educators and government is vital to inspiring our future workforce to power the state through a wide variety of energy-related occupations.”

“The energy sector is always changing, and there’s a continual need for new skill sets, which is what makes our partnership with education and the State so important,” said PSO President and Chief Operating Officer Peggy Simmons. “We are always looking for bright minds ready to learn and provide life-changing services to those around them. We hire qualified workers for jobs from engineers to power line technicians, from construction managers to chemists. Each one of them has the power to make a difference in their community.”   

The OEWC cites the impending workforce shortage as a major driver for its formation. STEM curriculum plays a pivotal role in energy occupations, and many schools are implementing more programs as a pipeline for similar jobs. STEM education opens doors to many different industries and provides tools and skills for future generations to apply to occupations like energy. 

“At the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development, we strive to connect industry and education across the state to secure and embrace the skill needs of our future workforce,” said Don Morris, executive director of the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development. “Fostering these collaborations across industries provides more opportunities for meaningful occupations for more Oklahomans. This also helps Oklahoma retain talent and passion to drive success today and tomorrow in the energy sector.” 

To register for the EnergyCareers 2021 Virtual Career Event visit getintoenergy.com and click EnergyCareers 2021 at the top of the page.

For more information about the Energy Career Cluster, Careers in Energy Week, and the Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium, visit 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.

CareerTech Offers Funds for Rural STEM Program Recruitment

Oklahoma CareerTech is accepting proposals from schools and technology centers serving rural populations for grant money to recruit students into STEM programs.

Oklahoma is one of five states that received a Strategies for Attracting Students to High Quality Career Technical Education grant of $20,000 from Advance CTE. The grant’s objectives are to support innovative recruitment strategies; increase awareness of and interest in high quality CTE programs; and identify and develop strategies to close access and equity gaps for families historically marginalized from participation in CTE programs.

“Oklahoma CareerTech offers students the opportunity to explore careers they can be passionate about,” said Kylie Moulton, communications and marketing coordinator at ODCTE. “This grant will help rural schools bring awareness to the diverse programs offered to students through CareerTech with funds and marketing materials that may not be available otherwise.”

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education will award $1,000 to 20 Oklahoma schools and technology centers to run a sponsored Facebook ad focused on recruiting students into science, technology, engineering and math programs such as aerospace and construction.

“Students begin making career decisions as early as elementary or middle school, and most students only know about careers that a family member or close family friend works in,” said Tonja Norwood, Oklahoma CareerTech STEM program manager. “It is critical that students are exposed to STEM hands-on curriculum that teaches a concept and immediately allows students to apply that concept.”

CareerTech STEM teachers also incorporate into their courses Technology Student Association competitive events that align to STEM careers, along with guest speakers, TSA conferences, research projects, videos and OK Career Guide, Oklahoma CareerTech’s online education and career planning system.

“CareerTech STEM students learn how STEM careers will allow them to solve problems and use their creativity and skills to improve the future,” she said.

Applicants must serve rural populations — defined as fewer than 50,000 residents. They also must offer STEM courses and have an official school or technology center Facebook page.

Grant application documents and instructions can be found at https://www.okcareertech.org/educators/cte-grant/high-quality-career-technical-education. The deadline for submission is Oct. 8.

About Oklahoma CareerTech

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 59 campuses, 394 PK-12 school districts, 14 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 31 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.

Training offered for OK Career Guide, Kuder Galaxy

Several virtual training sessions are available in the next few months for educators interested in OK Career Guide and Kuder Galaxy.

OK Career Guide is an online tool available to all Oklahomans to explore careers and plan their futures. Participants can take assessments, identify occupations, establish education plans and connect to employers.

Kuder Galaxy is an online career awareness platform for students in prekindergarten through fifth grade. Students learn through play, videos, activities, games and rewards in the space-themed platform.

Webinars for OK Career Guide will be Sept. 28, Oct. 26 and Dec. 7. Kuder Galaxy webinars will be Aug. 24, Sept. 28, Oct. 26 and Dec. 7.

For more information or to register for a webinar, visit the CareerTech website.

CareerTech Programs Receive Aerospace Grants

The Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation and Metro Technology Centers were among 50 organizations to receive Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission.

The foundation received a grant of $10,000 for the Oklahoma Education and Industry Partnerships. OEIP’s mission is to create a pipeline for partnerships among educators and industry leaders that result in meeting the workforce needs of Oklahoma companies.

More than 300 Oklahoma fifth through 12th grade science, technology, engineering and math teachers, counselors and administrators attend industry tours and educational workshops each year as part of OEIP.

“The CareerTech Foundation is thankful for OAC’s longstanding support of OEIP. The funding ensures continued connections between educators and industry, with a focus on the workforce needs in the aerospace sector,” said Gina Hubbard, manager of Oklahoma CareerTech’s Education Partnerships and Customized Services Division.

Metro Tech received $12,500 for the 2022 Aviation Career Exploration Camp for seventh and eighth grade students. The camp uses a STEM curriculum to teach students about the history of aviation and aerospace and the parts of an airplane.

Students also get to take an orientation flight to experience the principles of flight first-hand.

OAC awarded the grants at its August meeting. They are given to entities with targeted learning programs that have a direct application to aerospace and aviation for elementary through postsecondary education. The grant program has been awarding grants for more than 30 years.

More about the grant program and a full list of recipients is on the OAC website.

Oklahoma CareerTech Celebrates Educators’ Perseverance

Oklahoma CareerTech’s 54th annual conference celebrated educators’ perseverance, said State Director Marcie Mack.

The Oklahoma Summit is a partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. It provides professional development opportunities for CareerTech educators, administrators, school board members, support staff members and business partners.

Mack thanked Oklahoma CareerTech System employees for their commitment to continuing their work to educate Oklahomans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The challenges you faced were unprecedented,” she said. “We could not have imagined the surmounting circumstances that would reconfigure our lives and that of our schools and classrooms. But your passion and dedication to educating students and meeting the companies’ needs in your community prevailed, and our system continued to progress amid these trying times.

“This event is a celebration of your perseverance in navigating the shifting landscape and reinforcing why Oklahoma CareerTech is the best in the nation.”

Oklahoma Summit celebrated several award winners, including Oklahoma CareerTech’s top two awards, the Francis Tuttle Award and the Arch Alexander Award.

Lindel Fields, who recently retired from Tri County Technology Center as superintendent, received the Francis Tuttle Award, which is named in honor of the former Oklahoma CareerTech state director and is given to someone who has made significant contributions at the state and national levels.

Jeanette Capshaw, who recently retired as deputy superintendent at Moore Norman Technology Center, received the Arch Alexander Award, named in honor of a longtime deputy state director of Oklahoma CareerTech and given to someone who has demonstrated the qualities Alexander shows in his work in the system.

Shelley Free, superintendent of Kiamichi Technology Centers, received the OkACTE Bob Funk Advocate of Excellence Award, and Daniel Tysor, Moore Norman Technology Center web design instructor, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bob Funk Jr. of Express Employment Professionals was on hand to present checks from Express to four award winners: Lisa Symsack, Tulsa Technology Center, Support Staff Member of the Year, $5,000; Lorain McKay, Moore Norman Technology Center, New Teacher of the Year, $5,000; Nancy Howell, Great Plains Technology Center, Postsecondary Teacher of the Year, $7,500; and Leslie Powell, Kiamichi Technology Centers-Durant, Teacher of the Year, $10,000.

The following also received awards during Oklahoma Summit:

  • Joyce McClellan, Tulsa Technology Center chief development and diversity officer, Administrator of the Year.
  • Misty Bible, Kiamichi Technology Centers-Idabel counselor, Counseling and Career Development Professional Award.
  • Cody McPherson, Geary Public Schools technology engineering instructor, Carl Perkins Community Service Award.
  • Lucinda Francis, Moore Norman Technology Center literacy specialist/coach, Teacher Educator of the Year.
  • Eufaula Public Schools, State Superintendent’s Award of Excellence.
  • Teresa Abram, marketing and communications coordinator, Communications and Marketing Award.
  • Brian Ruttman, R.J. Curry, Athena Frank, Chelsey Graham, Elena Morales, Donna Lindly, Mikka House-Moore, Anita Parks, Ernie Gomez, Janet Portwood, Laura Manahan and Jodie Eiland, Dennis Portis Rising Star Award sponsored by American Fidelity.
  • Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber, OkACTE Distinguished Service.
  • Jerry McConnell, Moore Norman Technology Center director of safety and security, OkACTE Distinguished Achievement.
  • Allen Schneberger, Moore Norman Technology Center academic integration coordinator, Kaleidoscope Award.
  • Lamont Harris, Metro Technology Centers; Jessie Phillips, Kiamichi Technology Centers; Benjamin Evans, Pioneer Technology Center; Christie Rogers, Southwest Technology Center; and Matt Fix and Emily Brown, Moore Norman Technology Center, OkACTE Outstanding New Professional Award.

CareerTech Essential to Meet Workforce Needs

A qualified workforce is critical to the state’s economic well-being and will be vital to its recovery following the pandemic. Oklahoma CareerTech, which has long been a major component of Oklahoma’s economic engine, will play a starring role in this recovery.

Through a network of 399 PK-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 13 skills center sites and 32 adult basic education providers, the strengths of Oklahoma’s CareerTech System include accessibility and flexibility.

Through partnerships with business and industry, Oklahoma CareerTech has responded quickly to the state’s immediate workforce needs by providing customized career training in a wide range of industries, including health care, agriculture, aerospace and energy.

Read more in CareerTech State Director Marcie Mack’s guest column in The Journal Record.

Oklahoma FCCLA wins awards at hybrid conference

Oklahoma FCCLA had an outstanding week during the Hybrid National Leadership Conference, said Brittani Phillips, FCCLA state adviser at Oklahoma CareerTech.

Oklahoma FCCLA had national champions in eight events; 29 students earned first place in team and individual competitions. Nine students (team and individual) placed second in six events, and six students (team and individual) placed third in five events.

Cherokee High School had teams that placed first, second and third in the Knowledge Matters Virtual Business Challenge. Caney High School received $1,000 for winning the Families First National Program and $500 for being the runner-up in the Student Body National Program.

Zeb Kelly, Morrison High School, was elected the 2021-22 national vice president of community service. Denise Morris, former FCCLA state adviser, was named a national honorary member.

The National Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, was limited to 1,000 participants, but 150 Oklahoma FCCLA members attended the Oklahoma event.

“We had a great time celebrating together and experiencing Oklahoma tourism opportunities by attending Riversport and the Oklahoma City Zoo as well as utilizing the Oklahoma City trolley system,” Phillips said.

CTSO officers attend CareerTech University

Oklahoma CareerTech student organization state officers recently attended CareerTech University at Camp Tulakogee in Wagoner, Oklahoma. Officers from all seven co-curricular CTSOs attended the conference, where they learned about goal-setting, time management, teamwork and presentation skills.

At CTU each year, officers participate in training sessions and group activities to help them lead their organizations. They also learn more about the Oklahoma CareerTech System during the event. CTU provides the student leaders an opportunity to come together and share ideas about how they can best represent the CareerTech System as a whole.

CareerTech Champions

Averee Murray – FFA

Owasso FFA president is “one to watch.”

Then: An Owasso eighth grader whose first love was soccer. Averee Murray’s horizon broadened when her sister let her tag along to the school barn to help take care of her show pigs. Murray said she knew right away she wanted to be part of the FFA experience, describing the atmosphere as “competitive, yet kind,” and the students as “well-rounded.”

She enrolled in agricultural education and became active in Owasso’s FFA chapter, where she is currently serving as chapter president. She participated in the 2020 Oklahoma FFA Officer Leadership Conference and credits FFA for helping her develop a strong work ethic, as well as teaching her

  • Time management skills.
  • The value of attention to detail.
  • How to be more proactive.

The high school senior said she integrates those skills into speechwriting, raising show pigs, interviewing for scholarships, interacting with friends and working on group projects in school, along with many other professional and personal activities.

After high school, Murray plans to major in agricultural communications at Oklahoma State University.

“I consider CareerTech as a stepping stone to my future career pathway,” she said. “It provides students a safe environment to learn about their interests, while providing an easy transition from student to professional.”

Now: Murray is one of 20 students selected to serve on the Oklahoma Agriculture Youth Council and one of only 97 Oklahoma high school students appointed to the 2021 Student Advisory Council, a group set up six years ago by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister to assist in policy matters. The Tulsa World recently named Murray as one of the 2021 Owassons to Watch.

After college, Murray would like to work in public relations for a large agricultural company or with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

“I learned that to get any further than you already are, you start saying yes to things you aren’t completely comfortable with in the moment.” Averee Murray, student

CareerTech student chosen as 2021 Presidential Scholar

An Oklahoma CareerTech student is one of two state students chosen as 2021 Presidential Scholars.

Sean Kuehn of Sand Springs is among 161 high school seniors in the 57th Presidential Scholar class who are being recognized for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.

Kuehn is a senior at Charles Page High School. He is the national president of Technology Student Association, a former state president of the Oklahoma Technology Student Association and a national champion in Prepared Speech. TSA is a CareerTech student organization affiliated with science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

Kuehn serves on Oklahoma CareerTech Director Marcie Mack’s Student Advisory Committee and Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s Student Advisory Council. Earlier this year, he was one of two Oklahoma students chosen represent the state during the 59th annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week.

« Older Entries