Category Archives: Oklahoma CareerTech

Oklahoma CareerTech part of effort to help nurses return to field faster

A change in an Oklahoma nurse refresher course could help supply more nurses at a time when they are critically needed.

The statewide nurse refresher course is part of a partnership between the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Nine Oklahoma CareerTech technology centers offer the course for nurses who do not have an active license but want to return to practice.

Oklahoma’s critical nursing shortage worsened in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for nurses. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who do not have active licenses to practice in Oklahoma must complete the refresher course before they return to the field — or in some cases begin a nursing career. The course is designed for those who have left the field and for those who never took their board exams.

The program includes a self-paced, online nursing theoretical course, a nursing skills lab provided by Oklahoma CareerTech technology centers and a clinical experience that will show students’ clinical competency.

Previously students had to complete 80 hours and complete the skills lab and the clinical rotation separately. Now, the two parts have been combined, and students must complete only 40 hours if they achieve baseline competency. Students who are not successful within the first 40 hours may need to complete in-person clinical rotations.

Students can also save time in the online course by showing what they know; those who don’t pass chapter tests will have to review the content, but those who pass can move on, said Lara Morris, Oklahoma CareerTech health careers education state program manager.

“We are specifically doing this in response to the COVID surge and the need for more nurses to be used at the bedside and for replacing nurses who have moved to hospitals from clinics and other nursing positions,” Morris said.

The cost for the program was reduced further by making the clinical rotation virtual with a simulation resource designed to enhance clinical judgment. The virtual clinical portion of the course will save students money, Morris said, because they will not have to pay for travel to clinicals, uniforms, background checks and vaccine requirements.

“The hope is to streamline the process while saving the student time and money,” Morris said.

Technology centers offering the course are Autry Tech, Canadian Valley Tech, Green Country Tech, Kiamichi Tech, Meridian Tech, Metro Tech, Moore Norman Tech, Southern Tech and Tulsa Tech.

More information about the nurse refresher course can be found on the Oklahoma CareerTech website. Information about reinstating an RN or LPN license can be found on the Oklahoma Board of Nursing website.

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.

Tinker AFB donation will help Mid-Del Tech students

Mid-Del Technology Center recently received a KC-135 outboard wing for its aircraft sheet metal program, thanks to Tinker Air Force Base.

After learning of a need for students to learn to drill and shoot rivets on aircraft curved surfaces, Tinker officials worked with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona to ship the outboard wing. Tinker received the wing in September, but Mid-Del was unable to get it then because of COVID-19. Mid-Del worked with a shipping company, which delivered the wing this month. It will be used to help the students understand how to work on curved surfaces.

Oklahoma CareerTech uses virtual format to introduce students to career possibilities

More than 16,000 students in 20 PK-12 and technology center districts across Oklahoma are learning more about nontraditional careers in a new Oklahoma CareerTech initiative.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education launched the VirtualJobShadow.com initiative as a way to encourage more students to investigate nontraditional careers. A nontraditional career is one in which less than 25 percent of the labor force is of one gender.

VirtualJobShadow.com is an online, video-based exploration and career planning platform designed to help students and job seekers learn more about themselves, career pathways and skills needed for independent living. It features videos showing a day in the life of men and women at employer worksites.

“This new platform empowers students to learn more about careers that suit their interests,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “Through hundreds of professionally produced videos, our goal is to boost student awareness, interest and eventual employment in nontraditional careers.”

The platform turned out to be ideal for schools during the COVID-19 pandemic because it is video-based, said Steven Aragon, equity/diversity professional development specialist at ODCTE. In addition to workplaces, the videos show students in classrooms learning the skills they will need for various careers.

“There’s one with a female auto mechanics instructor teaching female students how to balance tires,” Aragon said. “We know in education — and other areas, for that matter — we need to see people who look like us. It’s one of the biggest ways to get students excited and thinking about possibilities they’ve never thought about — seeing people who look like them doing things.”

ODCTE sent recruitment letters to technology center and PK-12 school districts last summer with the hope of reaching 15,000 students in Oklahoma. Districts submitted proposals, and those approved began using VirtualJobShadow.com in September, Aragon said. To date, about 20 districts use the pilot program, with more than 16,400 student users. Tulsa Public Schools has more than 14,000 student users alone, Aragon said.

High Plains Technology Center in Woodward uses VirtualJobShadow.com in its Technical Applications Program to introduce elementary and middle school students to career and technology education.

“The students are exploring careers and being exposed to things they didn’t know. It is opening their eyes to the endless career options available,” said Danna Goss, HPTC middle school TAP instructor.

VirtualJobShadow.com also includes curriculum and tools to help instructors create lessons for their students, along with reporting tools that can help instructors, administrators and parents track students’ progress and career interests.

Assessment of the initiative, which uses money from the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, will begin in the spring, Aragon said, with data collection starting in March. ODCTE will make a decision about continuing the program based on the data, he explained.

“If it is doing what we want it to do and making a difference, we’ll keep doing it,” he said.

For more information about VirtualJobShadow.com, go to https://www.virtualjobshadow.com/ or contact Steven Aragon at steven.aragon@careertech.ok.gov or 405-743-5180. To see a video about the initiative, go to https://www.virtualjobshadow.com/partners/non-traditional-careers-overview/.

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 Horizon Podcast: “Power Up!”

When is the last time you thought about what goes into keeping power going to your home, uninterrupted?

Oklahoma’s thriving and evolving energy industry can be found in many forms. Whether it’s oil, gas, hydroelectric, wind, or solar energy, careers in this field can be lucrative and rewarding, but with a growing gap for skilled labor around the state, energy leaders hope more students sign on to technical programs to keep things going.

In this episode:

  • Horizon travels the state to hear from energy leaders on the challenges they are facing, and the new programs in place to help alleviate the energy skills gap.
  • Two students from very different backgrounds are profiled, and who are training for two very different jobs, but are ultimately working for the same goal.
  • They climb hundreds of feet to get a good view of the wind energy industry, and learn about the technical and safety demands of the job.
  • Listen in on a panel discussion, as Oklahoma’s energy experts discuss what parts of the industry will change in the coming years, and what parts will stay the same.
Episode 8: “Power Up!” Listen on your favorite podcasting app or on the Horizon website

You can subscribe to the Horizon podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, TuneIn, Stitcher, or ask your smart speaker to “Play CareerTech Horizon.”

Also, don’t forget to follow them on Twitter @CT_Horizon, or on Facebook to stay up to date with this ongoing project. Visit their website for show notes, episode trailers, and bonus content “Beyond Your Horizon” at http://cthorizon.org.

CareerTech Champions

Logan Drury – Meridian Technology Center and HOSA

This nursing student is paying for college one vial at a time.

THEN: A rodeo queen who grew up riding horses and competing in rodeos. Logan Drury loved her equestrian activities, but she always knew she wanted to be a nurse. The Mulhall-Orlando high school student knew a nursing career would require college, which would require money — which would require skills. Not a problem for this forward-thinking young woman! Drury enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s health careers program, hoping to learn skills that would allow her to supplement her income and find work in a field she enjoyed while she was going to college. At Meridian Tech, she

  • Learned time management and project prioritization.
  • Learned venipuncture and how to draw blood.
  • Learned patient care.
  • Was a member of HOSA – Future Health Professionals, the career and technology student organization associated with health careers education.

“I enjoyed the hands-on approach of my classes, and I loved the fact that my instructors were actually nurses themselves,” she said. “They didn’t just read or lecture about health careers; they drew from their own experiences.”

After completing the health careers program, Drury passed the National Healthcareer Association’s phlebotomy exam and became a certified phlebotomy technician.

NOW: Drury works as a phlebotomist at Stillwater Medical Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Because she is certified, she started at a higher pay rate when she was hired. She attends nursing school at Northern Oklahoma College. Her initial goal is to become a registered nurse, eventually obtaining a bachelor of science in nursing degree and possibly a doctor of nursing practice degree.

“Many times, students think you have to either go to college or go to work. With CareerTech, you can do both.”

Logan Drury
phlebotomist and nursing student

Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, Highway Patrol enter agreement for entrance exam

The Oklahoma CareerTech Testing Center, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, has secured an agreement to provide the entrance exam for Oklahoma state trooper candidates.

Under the agreement with the Department of Public Safety, applicants to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy will take the Oklahoma Peace Officer Screening and Selection Exam developed by the CareerTech Testing Center. CTTC will provide the exam through its existing in-person and virtual test sites across Oklahoma.

“We are pleased to partner with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to offer this entrance assessment for state troopers,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “By providing the assessment through the existing infrastructure of the Oklahoma CareerTech Testing Center, access to the testing will be available statewide.”

Oklahoma POSSE measures a candidate’s ability to demonstrate basic academic skills needed to successfully complete OHP cognitive training requirements for reading, writing, performing math calculations and using basic communication and reasoning skills.

“The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is excited about this new partnership with Oklahoma CareerTech,” said Capt. Donald Kerr, commander of the OHP Training Center. “This collaboration simplifies the process for OHP trooper candidates and means they can take the test at any time at a location that is convenient for them. This will also streamline the process for OHP as we screen applicants for our future academies.”

CTTC originally developed the test to meet legislative requirements for entrance into the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training Academy. Police departments across the state and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections also use the test.

OHP will inform candidates of specific details related to testing and use of the results. More information about test site locations, fees and required documentation can be found on Oklahoma CareerTech’s website.

About CareerTech Testing Center

As a service of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the CareerTech Testing Center has provided standards and assessments for career and technology education programs since 1985. It also partners with numerous state agencies to develop and deliver examinations required for certifications and licensures.

CareerTech, vet med association partner to teach veterinary assistants

A new Oklahoma CareerTech certification exam will help veterinary assistants show they have the skills they need to care for the state’s animal population.

CareerTech is working with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association to offer veterinary assistant certification for individuals completing the OVMA Certified Veterinary Assistant Program. The program is designed to help veterinary practices spend less time training new employees while ensuring the employees have the skills they need.

“We are pleased to partner with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association to offer this certification exam,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “Oklahoma CareerTech Testing Center has used its proven blueprint to develop an effective assessment with subject matter experts and will deploy the certification on the existing infrastructure, allowing for increased access to the testing across the state.”

Individuals working in the field can complete the OVMA Certified Veterinary Assistant Program at their own pace and then take the certification exam that the CareerTech Testing Center developed with a committee of subject matter experts. Once they’ve earned certification they can renew it every year with continuing education and a renewal fee.

The program’s goals are to increase levels of professionalism and customer service, encourage a culture of teamwork, increase the knowledge of animal care and increase the knowledge of proper handling techniques.

“The Oklahoma Certified Veterinary Assistant Program through the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association will ensure that students and workers are prepared to enter the veterinary world by providing a solid foundation of knowledge required to be successful in the clinic setting,” said Dr. Jennifer Schoonover, a veterinarian and OVMA president. “Veterinarians will be able to feel confident in hiring certified individuals and in continuing their staff’s education through this program due to the standard skill set covered.

“However, I think we can all agree the greatest benefit will be allowing veterinarians to better provide a consistent high quality of care to their patients and clientele.”

Individuals are required to apply for the program and then complete 100 hours of supervised training before taking the exam. CTTC’s network of testing sites at Oklahoma technology centers will give participants easier access for taking the exam.

For more information about the Certified Veterinary Assistants Program, visit https://okvma.org/veterinary-assistants-program/. For more information about the certification exam, visit https://www.okcareertech.org/educators/assessments-and-testing/health-certification-project-hcp/veterinary-assistant/veterinary-assistant.

About CareerTech Testing Center

As a service of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the CareerTech Testing Center has provided standards and assessments for career and technology education programs since 1985. It also partners with numerous state agencies to develop and deliver examinations required for certifications and licensures.

About Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association

The Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, a professional trade organization for veterinarians, was formed in 1907 and incorporated in 1934. The membership of the association is composed of more than 1,000 individual Oklahoma veterinarians, Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences faculty, veterinary students, out-of-state veterinarians and allied members.

Oklahoma energy industry partners with education sector to develop energy’s next generation workforce

Governor Stitt declares Oct. 19 – 23 Oklahoma Careers in Energy Week

The Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium is launching a new energy career cluster to promote the benefits of pursuing careers in energy. Energy is the highest-paying industry in the state, averaging more than $100,000 annually.

Leaders within the energy industry initiated the OEWC to address a looming shortage of skilled workers that is expected nationwide by 2025. With the help of educational leaders, the group aims to engage the next generation by adding a new career cluster to the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education’s instructional framework.

“Energy plays a vital role in the lives of Oklahomans, and we want to provide a focused, comprehensive and engaging framework for students to learn more about the high-wage and rewarding careers available in the energy industry,” said Sean Trauschke, chairman, president and chief executive officer of OGE Energy Corp. “We are proud to join with partners throughout Oklahoma’s energy sector to demonstrate the wide variety of occupations, from careers in power generation to renewable energies to new technologies in oil and gas and more.”

In anticipation of the new career cluster’s introduction, Gov. Kevin Stitt issued a state proclamation recognizing Oct. 19-23, 2020, as Oklahoma Careers in Energy Week.

“The energy sector is a key element of Oklahoma’s economic growth, and it is more diverse and modern than many realize,” Stitt said. “The next generation of bright minds and aspiring leaders will continue this work. These students represent the future of our state, and the unity within this career cluster, encompassing some of our largest industries, including utilities, renewable energy and oil and gas, shows the ever-increasing diversity and complexity of Oklahoma’s energy sector.”

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

“Providing opportunities for students to learn about the important industries in their own communities through partnerships like this one is a long-valued pillar at CareerTech,” said Marcie Mack, state director of CareerTech. “The Energy Career Cluster is the most recent example of CareerTech’s ability to partner with employers and all levels of education within Oklahoma and equip students with tools and skills they need to thrive within our state’s diverse workforce.”

The Energy Career Cluster will be one of 17career clusters in Oklahoma, and will be added to the list of industry-specific sectors that constitute CareerTech’s instructional framework.

“So many rewarding careers exist within the energy sector,” said PSO President and Chief Operating Officer Peggy Simmons. “We rely on highly skilled workers to serve our customers and drive innovation to shape the future. Students interested in earning competitive wages in a field with unlimited potential should consider a career in energy – we’d love to have bright and creative minds join our team.”

The OEWC cites the impending workforce shortage as a major driver for its formation. Most schools have or are implementing STEM programs and curriculum, which is an important component of energy jobs. STEM-related skills are also very transferable across many jobs and many other industries, providing students with many more options when it comes time to choose a career or pursue a college degree in a high-wage, high-demand STEM field.

“Increasing awareness of educational pathways for Oklahoma’s critical occupations is a key element of the state system of higher education’s ongoing efforts to advance educational attainment in our state,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. “Our state system colleges and universities offer numerous degree options to prepare graduates for employment in the energy sector.”

“The Workforce Development mission is to drive success by connecting industries and education to build a workforce for today and a talent pipeline for tomorrow,” said Don Morris, executive director of the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development. “Key partnerships such as this make a true difference for job seekers, businesses and all of Oklahoma. This type of teamwork and camaraderie are what make Oklahoma the place people want to live and work.”

“I’m proud to partner with Oklahoma CareerTech, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium to support a new career cluster for energy,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “Oklahoma’s future depends on students who are prepared today for a highly specialized workforce of tomorrow. This career cluster will help develop a talent pipeline to meet the demands in our state for qualified energy careers.”

“This partnership is a great opportunity to showcase what a career in energy really looks like and show the positive benefits of working in one of the largest industries in Oklahoma,” said Brook A. Simmons, president of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma. “We are able to carry out our association’s mission to build a better Oklahoma through capital investments and investing in the future of the oil and natural gas industry through students.”

“We are challenged with meeting our energy needs reliably, affordably and in environmentally responsible ways,” said Chris Meyers, general manager and CEO of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of this industry.”

OEWC, initiated by industry leaders and endorsed by state education leaders, is planning to celebrate Careers in Energy Week by highlighting the importance of energy, the benefits of the industry and how students can get involved in the field. On Oct. 21 at 2 p.m., CareerTech will host a virtual discussion on Zoom about the career cluster’s launch. The group has long-term plans to work closely with educators, career counselors and parents to raise awareness about the energy industry.

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

ODCTE featured in HVAC trade publication

Ric Russell, technical program specialist in ODCTE’s Trade and Industrial Education Division, talked to the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News about how Oklahoma CareerTech students are learning during the pandemic.

Students in heating, ventilating and air conditioning programs are learning in a hybrid model, with alternating lab days, live online training, simulations and recorded trainings, Russell told the publication. An unexpected benefit, he added, is that programs are able to increase the student population.

Schools in Georgia and Los Angeles were also featured in the story.

Continue reading HERE

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