Category Archives: Postsecondary Education

Welcome to CareerTech

For more than 100 years, Oklahoma CareerTech has been connecting students and businesses with training opportunities that help Oklahomans find rewarding careers and support Oklahoma industries. Our goal is to develop a world-class workforce for Oklahoma employers and prepare Oklahomans to succeed in the workplace, in education and in life.

  • 29 tech centers operating on 59 campuses 
  • 394 PK-12 school districts 
  • 13 Skills Centers campuses 
  • 31 Adult Basic Education providers at 116 sites
  • 426,00 total CareerTech enrollments in FY21
  • 5,670 companies served by CareerTech in FY21

Virtual OEIP Event Focuses on Automotive Careers

Through their October OEIP Virtual Event, CareerTech is partnering with automotive industry experts so attendees can learn more about careers in the automotive industry.

When:  October 27, 2021

Time:  10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Where:  Virtual

Registration Link

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 Champions

Mason Hardy – Canadian Valley Technology Center

CareerTech grad drones on and on about his new career.

THEN: In his own words, college after high school “didn’t go well.” Mason Hardy needed to learn a trade and find a stable job, so when Canadian Valley Technology Center offered him a Next Step Scholarship waiving his tuition, he enrolled in its automotive collision technology program.

He learned how to paint cars damaged in collisions, but he also

  • Had an opportunity to hear from potential hiring managers.
  • Got leads on numerous job openings.
  • Received career advice that helped him land a job.

This spring, Hardy was named one of the CV Tech Foundation’s Outstanding Scholars, but the career path he took after graduation was somewhat unconventional.

It was a guest speaker who sent Hardy down a career path he didn’t even know existed. Instructor David Venard invited a senior manager from Kratos, a drone-manufacturing company, to speak to the class about career opportunities. Soon, Hardy found himself on a phone interview with the company. After another interview in person, he was offered a job. Even after he accepted, he said, he wasn’t sure what kind of drones he’d be painting. He just knew he had the skills they were looking for.

“Everything we paint is made of carbon fiber deposits,” Hardy said. “Just like with cars, I do prep work and body work to fill in imperfections in the aircraft. Then I primer and paint.”

Hardy paints high performance unmanned aerial tactical and target drone systems for the military, including the newly organized U.S. Space Force. The smallest drone produced at the facility is 7 feet long, but Hardy also paints combat drones, used in air-to-air or air-to-ground scenarios. These aircraft are 36 feet long and have wings that measure 15 feet.

NOW: Proud of the work he does and making good, steady money. Hardy calls it “a blessed opportunity,” saying he likes knowing he is helping protect the lives of service members and American interests around the world.

“I give much of the credit to my instructor and counselors.”

Mason Hardy, painter for Kratos drone manufacturer

Oklahoma Aerospace Forum Planned

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.

Information and Registration

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.

School counselors gather virtually for annual conference

Oklahoma school counselors will gather virtually March 9-10 to connect with each other and develop their knowledge and skills during the 17th annual For Counselors Only Conference.

More than 600 counselors from technology centers and prekindergarten-12th grade schools are expected to attend the free virtual conference, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The conference will have 45 breakout sessions and an opening and closing speaker. It will include live sessions during the two days, along with prerecorded and on-demand sessions available for participants to view at any time.

Although the conference is called For Counselors Only, it will host a variety of educators, including teachers, counselors, administrators, disabilities specialists, college and career readiness coordinators, mental health providers, instructional coaches and more, said Shawna Nord, academic coordinator in the ODCTE Counseling and Career Development Division.

It will include sessions on OK Career Guide, individual career academic plans, academic updates, interventions, mental health care, crisis preparedness and response, e-transcripts, financial literacy and advanced placement.

“For 17 years our conference has provided counselors the opportunity to connect and network with the Oklahoma school counseling communities. They take this day to focus on effective programs, professional advocacy and the tools they need to provide results showing the impact of school counseling programs,” Nord said.

Rhett Laubach, owner of YourNextSpeaker, will deliver the keynote address. He will focus on tools to help attendees rediscover energy, motivation and the reason why they do what they do, he said.

For more information or to register, visit https://whova.com/web/couns_202102/.

February is Career and Technical Education Appreciation Month

During a year of pandemic changes, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education kept its focus on helping Oklahomans succeed while adding new programs in response to new needs.

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.

“Oklahoma CareerTech continues to deliver high quality education despite the pandemic. We remain laser-focused on the multiple career paths for students and meeting the workforce needs of businesses and industries in the state,” said ODCTE State Director Marcie Mack. “The work of Oklahoma CareerTech across the state provides meaningful results for Oklahoma’s economy.”

Oklahoma CareerTech expanded its programs in response to the pandemic as it continued its focus on filling skills gaps for both employees and employers in the state.

ODCTE worked with partners to launch several new educational initiatives in 2020, including a new energy career cluster to promote the benefits of pursuing careers in energy; online meat processing courses to fill a workforce shortage in the meat processing industry; and a mobile meat processing laboratory.

ODCTE worked with the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing to revamp a nurse refresher course to get nurses back in the field faster. In addition, technology center nursing students across the state assisted with COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics.

The CareerTech Testing Center worked with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association to offer certification exams for veterinary assistants and with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to use the Oklahoma Peace Officer Screening and Selection Exam developed by CTTC for OHP Academy applicants.

Oklahoma CareerTech also launched VirtualJobShadow.com to introduce more state students — more than 16,000 in 20 PK-12 and technology center districts — to nontraditional careers. The platform is ideal for schools and students doing virtual and distance learning because it is video-based.

When Oklahoma’s schools pivoted to distance learning in the spring of 2020, instructors in the 29 technology center districts and the 399 PK-12 school districts with CareerTech courses developed ways to help their students continue learning to finish the year. ODCTE offered additional instructional resources and guidance to tech centers and schools to help them with distance learning.

CareerTech students and teachers across the state also donated medical supplies, masks and more to help frontline pandemic workers.

Employees in CareerTech’s 13 skills centers, which operate in Oklahoma’s correctional and juvenile detention facilities, developed new processes that will better serve graduates; reduce barriers to reintegration; and improve communication, teamwork and probability of graduate success.

During a year of pivots caused by the pandemic, Oklahoma CareerTech was able to stay true to its mission of preparing Oklahomans to succeed in the workplace, in education and in life and expand its offerings to meet new needs in new ways.

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 by the Numbers in Fiscal Year 2020

  • 399 PK-12 school districts with 1,399 teachers and 132,532 enrollments
  • 29 technology center districts with 58 campuses, 1,306 teachers and 310,285 enrollments
  • 37 percent of sixth through 12th grade 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 86,000 students in co-curricular CareerTech student organizations: FFA; Family, Careers and Community Leaders of America; SkillsUSA; Technology Student Association; Business Professionals of America; HOSA; and DECA
  • 18,685 industry-endorsed certificates earned
  • 13 skills centers with 35 teachers and 1,541 enrollments
  • 32 adult basic education providers at 111 sites serving 10,768 students
  • 297 students earning high school diplomas in dropout recovery program
  • 7,295 industries served by business and industry training
  • 1,767 new jobs with training from ODCTE Business and Industry Services Division
  • $390 million secured by state companies in government contracts with help from Oklahoma Procurement Technical Assistance Center

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.

The 53rd Annual Oklahoma Summit

Oklahoma Summit - 53rd Logo

  • Registration is open.
  • Summit dates are Aug. 4-5.

The 53rd Annual Oklahoma Summit will be held virtually this year.

Online Registration

All participants are strongly advised to register in advance to provide a quicker, more efficient log-in experience. Beginning July 8, online registration requires you to fill out your personal information for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education to enter into its new data storage system. After you complete your information for ODCTE, you will continue on to the OkACTE website to verify your personal information with OkACTE. From there, you will proceed with registration and membership options. The online registration/membership is located on a secured site. When registering, please be sure to print your paid receipt. This will help facilitate your log-in process.

Register Here for Oklahoma Summit 2020

For any questions or assistance with online Summit registration, please contact the OkACTE office at 405-525-8906 or

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