Tim Frisby and Brandon Garcia talk in a video on Oklahoma CareerTech’s YouTube channel about how OkPTAC helped their aerospace manufacturing business to the skies with more opportunities in federal contracting.
OkPTAC is a procurement technical assistance center that helps Oklahoma businesses interested in selling products and services to federal, state, local and tribal governments. Oklahoma CareerTech administers the program, which assists clients through participating technology centers.
THEN: As early as high school, he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an engineer. Riley Sutton enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s pre-engineering program and built his first robot when he was a high school junior. He said pre-engineering and the FIRST Robotics competition taught him how to work as part of an engineering team.
“Everyone had an opportunity to provide input on the design,” Sutton said. “And we worked together to finalize the design and then assemble the robot.”
Sutton said the program offered more in-depth, hands-on engineering instruction than he would have received in a traditional high school setting. He said the program provided him
The ability to take difficult classes, such as chemistry, physics and calculus, that prepared him for his college engineering courses.
A chance to learn about the many career paths in engineering.
An understanding of the importance of obtaining professional certifications.
“Since graduating college, I have received the certified fire protection specialist certification from the National Fire Protection Association and have been designated as a professional member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers,” he said. “I am also working on achieving the certified safety professional and on becoming a licensed professional engineer.”
Sutton said Meridian Tech’s pre-engineering program has made him a better engineer and a better professional, which has led to job opportunities and advancements.
NOW: A fire protection engineer and deputy fire marshal at a decommissioned nuclear production complex operated by the U.S. government. Sutton maintains the infrastructure for the site and is responsible for ensuring compliance with fire protection program requirements and minimizing the risk of fire.
“I review lots of engineering designs as part of a larger design team that must work together effectively in order to achieve the desired result,” Sutton said. “The pre-engineering program is the foundation upon which my engineering career was built.”
“Without the pre-engineering program, I would not have been nearly as prepared for my engineering degree program at Oklahoma State University.”
Riley Sutton, fire protection engineer and deputy fire marshal
Maile represented the Oklahoma CareerTech System on the board since 2007. The board made a presentation to him at its meeting Tuesday.
“Serving on the curriculum review board has been an honor for me. Several family members have served in law enforcement, including a sister who is a CLEET academy graduate,” said Maile, manager of Oklahoma CareerTech’s Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement. “Offering advice to CLEET on their curriculum made me feel that I was contributing to the larger mission of the law enforcement community.”
CLEET’s curriculum review board establishes curriculum for all CLEET academies and training courses. Members of the board come from law enforcement, higher education and Oklahoma CareerTech.
Oklahoma CareerTech and CLEET began their partnership in 1987 when the Oklahoma State Department of Vocational and Technical Education (now Oklahoma CareerTech) developed curriculum to train security guards and private investigators.
That was also when Maile began his work with CLEET.
“I was a new technical writer at the state agency in Stillwater at that time and was assigned the task of writing the first editions of the curriculum with CLEET,” he said.
As a state authority on law enforcement training, CLEET set the direction for the curriculum with input from industry advisory committees, Maile said. Oklahoma CareerTech handled the writing, editing and printing. The draft curriculum was field-tested in CareerTech classes, and teachers from around the state attended workshops to learn how to deliver it. A free online train-the-trainer course eventually took the place of in-person workshops.
The CareerTech Testing Center also offers CLEET certification testing for private security and bail enforcement and processes the results and administers the Oklahoma Peace Officer Screening and Selection Exam, which individuals take before entering basic law enforcement and reserve basic law enforcement academies.
Oklahoma CareerTech’s partnership with CLEET offers opportunities to increase Oklahoma’s workforce in law enforcement, criminal justice and security careers, said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director.
“Technology centers statewide have experienced significant demand for programs in these pathways in recent years,” she said. “Basic peace officer certification is available at four technology centers, and there are 19 criminal justice programs across the state. CLEET and CareerTech are working together to offer additional training throughout the 29 technology center districts. This includes training for dispatch, jailer and other career pathways.”
Mack nominated Marshall McDonald of Central Technology Center in Drumright to take Maile’s spot on the curriculum review board.
Gov. Kevin Stitt has proclaimed November as Oklahoma CareerTech Skills Centers Month.
The CareerTech Skills Centers School System specializes in the delivery of career and technology education to inmates under the supervision of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and to juveniles under the supervision of the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs.
It got its start in February 1971 as the inmate training division of the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education, now the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. We are proud to help these individuals learn the skills they need to transition to jobs and life outside prison.
Branson Brewer — High Plains Technology Center and DECA
THEN: A marketing class offered through his high school was all it took to send Branson Brewer down his career path. Brewer enrolled in the marketing program at High Plains Technology Center, and that’s where he discovered his passion.
At High Plains, Brewer gained a number of skills he uses in his career, including
Filming and video editing.
He was president of his school’s DECA chapter (the CareerTech leadership organization for students in marketing, finance, hospitality and management) and received his marketing assistant certification from High Plains.
“These skills have helped me be a better communicator, be more social and have better working relationships,” he said.
Brewer said networking was the best part of his CareerTech experience, meeting great friends and mentors who made a positive, lifelong impact.
His marketing education didn’t end with his high school diploma from Woodward High. He is working toward his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in marketing at Northwest Oklahoma State University.
NOW: Brewer uses the skills he gained in marketing and DECA every day, both as a hobby and in his career. The on-air radio personality and account executive at Classic Communications Inc. discusses advertising plans with prospective clients and uses his skills to market and promote local businesses. He also creates videos for the radio station’s online live sports stream.
Away from work, Brewer applies his love of photography and videography to making vacation videos that allow him to capture lasting memories of his leisure time.
“CareerTech is an affordable way to learn real life skills that will help you for years to come,” he said.
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.
Oklahoma CareerTech Director Dr. Marcie Mack will join other education panelists in a breakout session at the Oklahoma Aerospace Forum this month.
The event will be 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Oklahoma City Convention Center.
Mack will join Travis Hurst of Rose State College, Jeffery James with the Air Force Association’s Cyber Patriot and StellarXplorers programs, Jamey Jacob from OSU Unmanned Systems Research and Randa Shehab of OU’s Gallogly College of Engineering to discuss aerospace workforce development and the education renaissance.
Other breakout sessions will cover technological advancements and the future of aerospace in Oklahoma; how the aerospace industry is changing because of COVID; and how Oklahoma is working to elevate aerospace.
More than 7 million people work in construction in the United States — and more than 83,000 Oklahomans work in construction — but the industry will need 700,000 new professionals by 2026, and Oklahoma predicts a growth of 12 percent.
Oklahoma CareerTech is working to fill that gap with construction trades training and education at its 29 technology centers and at its skills centers. The system offers education in carpentry, masonry, HVAC, plumbing, electrical work, heavy equipment operation, cabinetmaking and computer-aided design and drafting.
Oklahoma CareerTech’s construction trades programs are celebrating the national Careers in Construction Month in October, and Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a proclamation declaring that October is Careers in Construction Month in Oklahoma.
Careers in Construction Month was founded by the National Center for Construction Education and Research and Build Your Future to increase public awareness and inspire the next generation of construction craft professionals. For more information about CareerTech’s construction trades programs, go to https://www.okcareertech.org/educators/career-clusters/architecture-and-construction or visit your local technology center.
Kelcy Hunter – Gordon Cooper Technology Center and Skills USA
Female construction manager built her future on a foundation of hard work and determination.
THEN: There wasn’t going to be much money for college, with five children in a single-parent household. Kelcy Hunter looked at nearby Gordon Cooper Technology Center for affordable education options, but the Shawnee High School student said she wasn’t excited about any of the female-dominated courses available. Instead, she chose carpentry…despite her mother’s concerns about the hard work and what she thought would surely be limited career opportunities for women. But Hunter’s mother also knew there was no stopping her firstborn, once she had made up her mind. Her daughter enrolled at Gordon Cooper Tech, where she
Learned basic layout, how to read working drawings and basic estimating.
Learned forming, framing, and interior/exterior finish work in residential and light commercial construction.
Received a certification in carpentry and masonry trades.
Earned OSHA 10, NCCCER, and Forklift /skid steer training and certifications
After high school Hunter continued her education, receiving her associates in applied science degree in construction management from Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology. She worked hard, like her mother predicted, but contrary to her mother’s fears, Hunter has had no problem finding employment. In fact, the project manager at Lingo Construction Services said she used her training to build a four-story, 50-guestroom hotel.
“These skills provided me with a career that I have had since graduation, in the same field I studied,” she said, adding, “I broke the low-income cycle in my family.”
NOW: Hunter is still active in Oklahoma SkillsUSA, the CareerTech student organization that supports training programs in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. She is an industry partner representative for TeamWorks, a state contest that recognizes outstanding students for excellence and professionalism in carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electricity and teamwork skills.
“CareerTech provides career opportunities for all,” she said, “and it fields a critical gap between high school and higher education. That helps eliminate retirement-age individuals cycling out before they can field-train the upcoming workforce.”
Hunter uses her CareerTech skills every day at work, but said she also uses those skills at home.
“When I am requesting work around my home,” she said, “I do my own estimates, so I can verify they are quoting me a fair price.”
“You can train a person on processes and the way of your company, but you cannot teach being on time and putting in the work, which is a requirement of any CareerTech program.”