Category Archives: Student Organizations

CareerTech Champions

Phil Berkenbile – Agricultural Education and FFA

Retired state director’s dedication to CareerTech goes back to his high school days.

Then: A Dover, Oklahoma, farm boy, coming of age in the ’60s. When Phil Berkenbile enrolled in agricultural education at Dover High School, it literally set the trajectory for his life. He was an active FFA member, doing the usual ag stuff — showing animals, learning about crops and farming. But for Berkenbile, like so many other young people, FFA also taught invaluable life skills.

His ag education and FFA experiences taught Berkenbile

  • Public speaking skills.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Skills in agriculture mechanics, agronomy and livestock production.

Berkenbile said those skills have benefitted him well beyond his high school days. He said he uses them to work with professional organizations such as his local school board, the CareerTech Foundation board and the Morrison Lions Club.

“These skills are making a difference in my community,” he said. “I try to be involved and assist individuals and groups whenever possible.”

He has only worked in two places, he said. He began his career as an ag teacher at Morrison High School. In 1988 he moved into an ag leadership position with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

“I use the skills I learned in FFA in everything I do,” he said. “It’s just become part of my background.”

He returned to Morrison Schools as superintendent, then later returned to CareerTech to finish his career, ultimately serving as CareerTech’s sixth state director until his retirement in 2013.

Berkenbile served on several boards and task forces, including as chairman of the Governor’s Taskforce on Healthcare and chairman of the Oklahoma Education Technology Trust Foundation. He received the prestigious 2012 VIP Award from the Oklahoma FFA Association and the 2010 VIP Citation from the National FFA Organization. The VIP Citation is one of the most prestigious awards a person can receive for supporting FFA and its programs.

Now: A 2015 inductee into the CareerTech Hall of Fame. Berkenbile called CareerTech a pathway to success.

“CareerTech programs prepare students with the skills to be successful in their field and in life,” he said.

Berkenbile serves on the Morrison School Board and the Morrison Community Development Association, among his many community service activities.

CareerTech Champions

Kaydee Clark – Tulsa Technology Center and HOSA

CareerTech in high school gave this student-turned-instructor a way to pay for college.

THEN: One of three latchkey siblings with a single mom who worked two jobs to pay the bills. While her mother struggled to take care of the family and put food on the table, Kaydee Clark said, she was fighting battles of her own. Plagued with multiple health issues, she was in and out of health care facilities throughout high school.

Even though Clark’s mother worked hard, she couldn’t come up with college money for Clark or her siblings. Her brother and sister joined the military, but Kaydee needed to find a career. One of her mother’s jobs was medical assisting, and Clark’s health care experiences had made her realize she, too, had a passion for helping others.

Like mother, like daughter — the high school senior enrolled in Tulsa Technology Center’s medical assisting program. She joined HOSA, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with health careers education. HOSA and Tulsa Tech helped Clark

  • Develop the ability to prioritize and become organized.
  • Pass the board exams for medical assisting and phlebotomy.
  • Learn leadership skills and the value of teamwork.
  • Improve her communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Develop a strong work ethic and resiliency.

Clark watched her mom work hard to get ahead, advancing to vice president of a popular health insurance organization. Clark had the same strong work ethic, and in 2004, she graduated from Tulsa Tech and began working as a medical assistant. She met her future husband at an urgent care center, where he was a patient.

After Clark became pregnant with their third child, she made a career change, accepting a grant-funded teaching job at her alma mater. After that job ended, she was offered a full-time teaching job with Tulsa Tech’s high school medical assisting program, the same program she sat in as a high school senior. It was that program that helped her get a job, and it was that job that gave her the resources to continue her education.

“I would not have been able to attend college later in life if I hadn’t learned a trade,” she said. “CareerTech equipped me with the ability to work and make money to support myself and my family.”

NOW: A member of the Oklahoma State University President’s Leadership Society, working toward a degree in psychology and school counseling and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Clark said she’s never leaving CareerTech.

“Even if I became a doctor,” she said, “my clinic would be staffed with Tulsa Tech students.”

“There is so much opportunity in CareerTech, and I am a product of it.”

Kaydee Clark, CareerTech instructor and OSU college student

Thousands attend FCCLA State Convention in person and virtually

More than 2,000 Oklahoma Family, Career and Community Leaders of America attended the 75th annual FCCLA State Convention in person, and thousands more participated virtually.

Oklahoma FCCLA held the event April 1 in the new Oklahoma City Convention Center. Oklahoma FCCLA was the first student organization to hold an event at the new facilities.

Many chapters attending virtually held watch parties. Students heard from outstanding keynote speakers and presenters, including opening session keynote speaker Kyle Scheele. Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and Oklahoma CareerTech State Director Marcie Mack gave greetings during the sessions.

Competitors were recognized for their state competitions and first through third place competitors were recognized; National Leadership Conference qualifiers were also notified of their achievements. Chapters were recognized for membership awards including Star Chapters and the largest FCCLA chapter in the state (Midwest City High School).

FCCLA members elected the 2021-22 State Executive Council at the conclusion of the day.

CareerTech Champions

Jessica Garvin – FCCLA and Red River Technology Center

Nursing home administrator gives back to her community through FCCLA

THEN: She wasn’t planning a career, she just wanted sewing skills. Jessica Garvin said she learned to sew at Marlow High School, but the family and consumer sciences education program taught her much, much more.

Garvin joined Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with family and consumer sciences. Participation in FCCLA’s job interview competitions helped Garvin

  • Speak more eloquently in public.
  • Gain leadership and management skills.
  • Become better organized.
  • Interview new employees in her job as chief operations officer at a nursing home.

She said she also met incredible, lifelong friends in FCCLA, including fellow officers, advisers and classmates.

FACSED was Garvin’s only CareerTech experience in high school, but years later she said she wishes she had enrolled in a technology center program while she was there.

“I realize now what types of opportunities I missed by not taking advantage of CareerTech education in school!” she said.

Garvin did take advantage of CareerTech’s offerings after high school, attending Red River Technology Center in Duncan to get her medication administration technician certification, part of her journey toward her long-term administrator’s licenses.

She doesn’t make her living sewing, but Garvin’s involvement with FCCLA continues today. She helps students prepare for competitive events, and she mentors them through high school.

“Giving back to my community has improved my quality of life by providing opportunities for me to pay it forward,” she said.

NOW: A University of Oklahoma graduate, Garvin is COO at Gregston’s Nursing and Rehab in Marlow, Oklahoma. As an employer, she said, she understands the value of a CareerTech background.

“We utilize CareerTech graduates every day,” she said. “So many of them are wonderful, hardworking professionals with a strong work ethic and a desire to improve the lives of the people they serve.”

“I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today without FCCLA.”
Jessica Garvin
Nursing home COO

Oklahoma CareerTech students chosen for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Two CareerTech students will represent Oklahoma during the 59th annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week.

Sean Kuehn

Sean Kuehn of Sand Springs and Julian Ober of Tulsa will join 102 other national student delegates during the first-ever fully virtual Washington Week, which will be an interactive education and leadership forum.

“We are proud to have Sean and Julian representing Oklahoma at a national level,” said Oklahoma CareerTech State Director Marcie Mack. “Their academic accomplishments and leadership exemplify student excellence and CareerTech’s mission to promote career awareness.”

Kuehn, a senior at Charles Page High School, 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 Mack’s Student Advisory Committee and Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s Student Advisory Council. He has been a member of the Gold Pride Marching Band and National Honor Society and has been captain of the academic team. After graduation, he plans to study political science at Columbia University.

Julian Ober

“OKTSA is proud of Sean and his accomplishments both at the state and national level,” said Tami Redus, Oklahoma TSA state adviser. “He has been a dedicated member since middle school and continues to make the organization proud.”

Ober, a senior at Union High School, is a member of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, the CTSO affiliated with family and consumer sciences education. She has served as a district president in the northeast region of Oklahoma FCCLA.

She is also a member of the Superintendent Student Council Advisory Board and the Student Athlete Advisory Council, is captain of the tennis team and has served as the co-facilitator of the Youth Philanthropy Initiative. She plans to study international affairs and women’s gender and sexuality studies in college.

“Oklahoma FCCLA is incredibly proud of Julian and the leadership she brings not only to her school but also to her community and state,” said Brittani Phillips, Oklahoma FCCLA state adviser. “FCCLA empowers students to sharpen their leadership skills, and she is a fantastic representation of FCCLA. She has embraced our tagline and is showing everyone that FCCLA is the Ultimate Leadership Experience.”

During the program week, Kuehn and Ober will attend online meetings and briefings with senators, the president, a Supreme Court justice, Cabinet agency leaders and members of national media outlets.

Kuehn and Ober will each receive a $10,000 scholarship for undergraduate study for participating in the program. They were selected by Hofmeister after a rigorous application process.

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 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.

About the United States Senate Youth Program

The U.S. Senate created the USSYP in 1962. It has been sponsored by the Senate and funded by The Hearst Foundations since its creation. Its mission, according to its website, “is to provide a yearly opportunity for selected students to gain an in-depth view of the Senate and the federal government overall as well as a deeper understanding of the interrelationship of the legislative, judicial and executive branches.

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

CareerTech Champions

Corey Martin – FCCLA

Then: Not your typical high school freshman. Corey Martin was a gifted artist, and even as a high school freshman, he loved to sew. Martin said his family and consumer sciences teacher (then home ec) recruited him for her class. There, the Okeene High School student flourished. He used his artistic skills to decorate for school events, such as the school’s annual style show, and he sewed for competitive events. Martin graduated from Fort Cobb-Broxton High School, and said his involvement in FHA (now FCCLA) taught him

  • Basic life skills like setting up a budget and balancing a checkbook.
  • Meal preparation.
  • Sewing skills.

“Through FHA I developed as a leader and a communicator,” he said. “These skills have become very valuable in my adult life, both professionally and personally.”

Martin said the most valuable lesson he learned was to appreciate people. He learned the importance of creating a network of peers and friends, which is extremely important in the theater industry.

In college, Martin majored in musical theater and costume design. He designed theatrical productions and began working from home, creating costumes and evening wear for individual clients. From 2007-2010, he worked as an installer on cruise ships. On the ships he fit, altered and repaired costumes for the new performers.

Now: A member of IATSE 705 Motion Picture Costumers Union. Martin is listed as a women’s custom-made pattern maker, fitter and tailor and has worked in 11 states and 22 countries. Most recently, he was working on a new series for Amazon, not yet released. He hopes to continue to work in the film and TV industry. Martin has started writing and hopes to create a movie or series of his own.

“I often serve as a leader in whatever costume shop or production I am working on. If I had not developed my sewing skills and the leadership qualities I learned in FHA, I would not be where I am today.”
Corey Martin, costume designer

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

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.

More than 1,600 attend virtual BPA, DECA conference

Oklahoma Business Professionals of America and Oklahoma DECA hosted a virtual Fall Leadership Conference for more than 1,600 students and advisers.

The conference centered around students finding their leadership voices and using them to amplify their strengths as leaders, role models and BPA and DECA members. In addition to sessions on learning their styles and working with other leaders, students also heard from Alton Carter, author of “The Boy Who Carried Bricks” and “Aging Out” and founder of the Alton Carter Inspire Foundation, which helps individuals in foster homes, group homes and boys ranches earn college degrees.

“This year has brought about so many changes, but one thing it has not changed is the hard work and dedication that Oklahoma CTSO state officers pour into their organizations,” said Paxton Cavin, state BPA and DECA adviser. “No matter what has been put in their path, on their list or abruptly changed, these officers have stepped up to the occasion. I could not be more proud of these two state officer teams and the work they have done and continue to do during this crazy year.”

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