Category Archives: Student Organizations

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Emma Hutchison – DECA

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Emma Hutchison – DECA

Former DECA officer plans to take her leadership skills into the courtroom.

THEN: A class dedicated to topics like sports marketing and fashion marketing sounded exciting to the Putnam City North High School student. Emma Hutchison had also heard great things about the DECA advisers at her high school and the strong reputation of their marketing program.

Emma got involved in DECA and later was chosen to serve as Oklahoma DECA president. She said the CareerTech student organization gave her

  • Public speaking skills, which she uses almost daily, both in law classes and advocacy competitions.
  • Leadership skills.
  • An opportunity to travel and meet DECA members from around the world.
  • Confidence about her future.

“I am more confident talking to professors or interviewing for positions because of my experience addressing the Oklahoma DECA membership and staff,” she said.

Emma said CareerTech is unique in that students are learning material in class and applying it outside of the classroom at competitions and other activities.

NOW: A college graduate with a B.A. in political science from the University of Oklahoma. She is a law student at George Washington University Law School and plans to practice law in the D.C. area after graduation. Her resume since high school includes serving as an intern for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, an Appropriations Committee intern for the Oklahoma Senate, a legislative intern for the U.S. Senate and a law clerk for the National Association of Attorneys General.

“I would advise young people to take advantage of opportunities early in high school and college to get hands-on experience and gain skills you can use to make yourself stand out as a candidate,” she said.

“Employers should value CareerTech students because they are driven, passionate and skills students who will become valuable employees.”

Emma Hutchison, law student

K-12 Schools in the Oklahoma CareerTech Education System

K-12programs

School Grades 6-12 Offer CareerTech Career Training

Most of Oklahoma’s career and technology education students at the secondary level are enrolled in CareerTech programs in their local schools. In FY17, a total of 1,319 CareerTech teachers in 391 K-12 public school districts served a total enrollment of 139,598.

These students are in Grades 6-12 and are enrolled in one-period CareerTech programs including agricultural education; business, marketing and information technology education; family and consumer sciences; health careers education; science, technology, engineering and mathematics education; and trade and industrial education.

Value Added

Such programs add value to students’ high school careers. Not only do they meet the same academic standards required of all other students, they learn skills to manage the challenge of living and working in a diverse society. Their career and technology education classrooms provide a hands-on learning environment where they can increase technological proficiency, develop entrepreneurial skills and gain practical experience. In addition, technology education programs, designed for Grades 6-10, also provide students the opportunity to explore and experience potential careers.

Student Organizations

These K-12 school programs focus on producing well-rounded students. Students learn theory in the classroom, practice their skills in labs and shops, and gain vital leadership and teamwork skills through their participation in one of seven career and technology student organizations. These organizations include:

  • BPA – Business Professionals of America
  • DECA – Marketing
  • FCCLA – Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America
  • FFA – Agriculture, food, and natural resources student organization
  • HOSA – Future Health Professionals
  • SkillsUSA – Architecture and construction student organization
  • TSA – Technology Student Association
  • NTHS – National Technical Honor Society

More than 88,000 students join these seven organizations annually. These organizations afford them the opportunity to participate in both leadership and skill contests at the local, state, and national levels.

Success Starts on the Front Line

The success of the Oklahoma CareerTech system begins on the front line. Instructors with real-world experiences strive to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Each year, instructors are offered opportunities to participate in educational development and training programs designed to hone their technical and teaching skills. Classroom curriculum is available through the Curriculum and Instructional Materials Center. In addition, program specialists from the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provide technical assistance to instructors.

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Cammi Valdez – Enid Schools – DECA and TSA

From TSA to Ph.D., Harvard scientist urges girls to pursue STEM careers.

THEN: At Emerson Junior High School in Enid, Cammi Valdez followed her sister’s lead

CammiValdez

Cammi Valdez – Enid Schools (TSA and DECA)

and got involved in CareerTech student organizations. She eventually served as a state officer in both Technology Student Association and DECA, and by the time she graduated from Enid High School she had competed in everything from building balsa wood gliders to public speaking. That technology education and TSA involvement – as well as an influential instructor and mentor – were the first steps on her way to a career in science, technology, engineering and math. Cammi earned both a B.S. Professional degree in chemistry and a B.S. in mathematics in just four years at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and she received a Ph.D. in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University.

She says she still draws from her experiences in TSA and DECA, including:

  • Leadership qualities she learned as a state officer. (At SWOSU she became president of the math honor society and her chemistry club, and at Harvard she held a number of leadership roles on her graduate student council, including two years as president.)
  • Public speaking and networking.
  • A love of all things STEM.

NOW: Assistant director for undergraduate research and fellowships at Harvard, she runs a fellowship program primarily for humanities and social sciences students – from underrepresented backgrounds – who are interested in careers in academia. She also runs a summer research program that prepares undergrads for STEM-related graduate programs.

Cammi says a STEM background can lead to job security, intellectual stimulation and more career opportunities than ever.

“The biomedical sciences field is exploding,” she said. “And the world is also becoming more reliant on computer science.”

The Harvard scientist has become a role model for young women considering a career in STEM.

 

“I remember having teachers who told me you don’t need to be good at math or science because you’re a girl…I hope students today have access to people who say, ‘You CAN do it.’”

Cammi Valdez, biomedical scientist at Harvard University

 

This is CareerTech

A look at the various delivery arms of Oklahoma CareerTech and the impact those have on Oklahoma’s education and business communities.

 

 

Farm-to-fork, with a twist

From farm to fork, Vinita FFA members serve up fresh, healthy options from their food truck and catering business.

 

They catered more than 4,500 dinners last year, including about 20 weddings. They have a successful farm-to-fork food truck. They even have their own farmers market, where they sell fresh produce, meat, dairy products, eggs, baked goods and their own homemade salsa.

A company like this would be no big deal in a metropolitan area, but this company is a pretty big deal. It’s based in a town of just over 5,000 people, and its employees are high school students. If the company had a CEO, it would be Carolyn Piguet, who also happens to be the agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at Vinita High School.

Vinita’s FFA chapter purchased the food truck in 2017, and from March to September Piguet and her students set up each week at the student-run farmers market. They offered made-from-scratch breakfasts, including their now-famous homemade fritters. Once customers tasted the peach, blueberry, apple and pumpkin pastries, they were hooked.

Piguet hasn’t always taught agriculture. Before coming to Vinita’s ag ed program she taught science and was a school counselor, testing coordinator and even a school principal. This latest chapter in her career unites all of her passions.

“I love agriculture,” she said, “and there’s not a better scenario in which to build leadership, independence and project gratification than in agriculture.”

More than corn and crops

The food truck and farmers market are built around her chapter members’ individual projects. They bring their products to the market and receive payment for their efforts. In addition to agricultural concepts, they learn planning, production, catering, marketing and communication.

Piguet also has students involved in vinyl sign-making, welding, wood projects, wildlife and more. She says she tries to help students find projects that match their interests.

“We’re breaking the stereotype that everybody has to have an animal or everybody has to be growing a crop, because there are so many more things in agriculture than just the production end of it,” she said.

There is quite a bit of growing going on, however. The FFA chapter uses land provided by a community member to grow a chapter garden each year. Last year the farmers market sold close to 500 pounds of tomatoes, 11,000 ears of corn, nearly 200 dozen eggs, three beef carcasses and more than four pork carcasses, sold by the cut.

Through the farmers market and the catering business, students learn money management, record keeping, licensing and customer service. They take health department food-safety classes as well as chapter instruction to learn how to prepare, present and market their food products, all the while tying it back to agricultural education.

The FFA members aren’t the only ones learning through the farm-to-fork program. The Vinita community also benefits, according to Piguet, through increased availability of clean products and awareness of healthy foods. The farmers market also provides a community event the whole town can enjoy.

The farmers market is closed for the winter, but the Vinita FFA catering team offers several year-round menu options for special events. You can order the traditional pulled pork and barbecue brisket dinner, of course, but they can also take it up a notch. One sit-down dinner option includes smoked tri-tip, rosemary chicken breast, baby bakers, bacon-wrapped green bean bundles and wedge salad with blue cheese and balsamic reduction. And of course they’re prepared to satisfy a diner’s sweet tooth, with offerings such as butter cake with chocolate ganache and chocolate molten cake.

Oklahoma FFA is one of seven co-curricular student organizations associated with the Oklahoma CareerTech System. These organizations provide opportunities for personal growth and scholastic achievement, as well as developing skills in public speaking, planning and organizing. The other organizations are BPA, DECA, FCCLA, HOSA, SkillsUSA, and TSA.

The Agricultural Education Division, of the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech, administers agricultural education offerings in 360 high schools. These programs prepare students for careers in production agriculture, agribusiness and other emerging agricultural-related occupations.

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, 395 comprehensive school districts,15 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 30 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.

Websites, Apps, and More

TA9214 2016 Web Book Cover.inddThe 9th edition of CIMC‘s web book (previously called Best of the Web) includes apps for both instructors and students that enhance the classroom experience, offer avenues for professional development, and assist instructors with student engagement and enhancement activities. This edition includes resources for CareerTech Student Organizations; Teaching, Advising & Career Information; Creativity; and Digital Tools, as well as websites for each career cluster.

Websites, Apps, and More can be downloaded for FREE, or purchased in packages of 10.

Download a free copy of Websites, Apps, and More
Purchase Websites, Apps, and More from our online catalog

Students reap benefits from CareerTech student organization membership

More than 88,000 Oklahoma students learn leadership, employability and career readiness skills through CareerTech student organizations.

Oklahoma CareerTech has seven student organizations affiliated with its educational programs: Business Professionals of America, business and information technology education; DECA, marketing education; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, family and consumer sciences education; FFA, agricultural education; HOSA, health careers education; SkillsUSA, trade and industrial education; and Technology Student Association, science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Our state associations consist of more than 1,617 local chapters that align with the not-for-profit national associations.CTSO Day at the Capitol

In addition, Oklahoma has a chapter of the National Technical Honor Society, which honors excellence in workforce education. It encourages higher scholastic achievement, cultivates a desire for personal excellence and helps top students find success in today’s highly competitive workplace.

These organizations offer sixth-grade through postsecondary students the chance to meet with others with similar interests in their schools and from around the state and nation. CareerTech student organizations offer co-curricular activities and lessons that provide opportunities for personal growth, scholastic achievement and career readiness. CTSOs allow students to work on community projects, competitive events and leadership activities and connect with business and industry.

CTSOs embody the core of CareerTech education in learning by doing. Students experience leadership through leading their fellow members to complete projects and serve others. They engage in teamwork to accomplish community service projects and win competitive events. They exhibit critical thinking skills by solving problems by facing them head-on and finding a way through them.

A study at the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education at the University of Minnesota found that students who are active in CTSOs have higher grades; more academic motivation and engagement; and higher career self-efficacy and college aspirations.

Anyone can see the evidence of those findings in Oklahoma CTSO students. CareerTech student organization members encompass multiple career pathways — entrepreneurs, machinists, doctors, agronomists, welders, nurses, engineers, medical technicians, diplomats, teachers, veterinarians, CEOs, lawyers, members of the military and more. CTSOs prepare students to have career success — and lead — in any field imaginable.

Students are not the only ones who benefit from their CTSO participation. Community service is a required component of a CTSO. Members spend time serving their communities through projects like Oklahoma FFA’s Hunger Challenge, which provided more than 1 million protein sticks for hungry children in Oklahoma last year.

Oklahoma FCCLA members play a role in educating individuals on the dangers of texting while driving, promoting distraction-free driving to save lives.

Other CTSOs raise money and volunteer with the American Cancer Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and a variety of nonprofits in their own communities.

CareerTech student organizations positively affect the classroom, educational outcomes and communities while better preparing students on their career paths.

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