Category Archives: Technology Centers

OATC Partners for Progress highlight: B&H Construction partners with Mid-America Tech

Mid-America Technology Center named B&H Construction its OklahoMidAmericama Association of Technology Centers Partner for Progress.

B&H Construction, a 36-year contractor for OneGas with crews throughout Oklahoma and parts of Kansas and Texas, is a longtime partner of Mid-America tech.

Changes in the OneGas operator qualification requirements meant B&H Construction needed to train and qualify more than 220 employees. Mid-America assembled subject matter experts and professional partnerships that helped B&H lower the costs of the changes and provided a resource for the tech center to use as well.

The mutual investment allows students and employees to benefit from operator qualification training, operator qualification performance verification, polyfusion pipe welding training, leadership training, safety training and respirator fit testing (service).

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.

Steven Rogers – DECA, High Plains Technology Center

Technology center instructor literally grew up in the CareerTech family.StevenRogers

THEN: As a small child, Steven Rogers says, he ran the hallways of High Plains Technology Center while his dad taught in a classroom there. Having grown up on that campus, it wasn’t much of a stretch for him to take classes there as soon as he was old enough.

Steven chose marketing and management classes at High Plains Tech and joined DECA, the CareerTech student organization for marketing students.

He said his two years in DECA taught him:

  • Public speaking, through competitions and events.
  • The importance of good customer service.
  • How to be more self-confident, something his marketing instructor emphasized.
  • Business management skills.

After graduation, Steven used those management skills to open three businesses in five years.

I think students coming out of CareerTech have a better understanding of the mechanics of a business,” he said.

NOW: Steven needed to make a career change for personal reasons and decided to join the High Plains family once again, this time as an instructor. He was denied that opportunity three times, but he did not give up. With his fourth application, Steven was hired.

“I have a passion for teaching, and I love the CareerTech family as my own,” he said.

Steven is now the industrial coordinator at High Plains Tech. Also a fireman and EMT, Steven teaches fire, industrial and wind rescue classes.

“CareerTech helps students develop strong work ethics.”  Steven Rogers

Oklahoma CareerTech Offers Training to Tech Center Student Services Workers

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Sixteen Oklahoma technology center student services employees recently graduated from the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech’s Student Services Endorsement Program.

The program is designed to equip student services employees with a foundation in the philosophy, knowledge and skills that are unique to Oklahoma’s CareerTech System.

Graduates were Tiffany Ash, customer service, and Jennifer Tupper, grants and special projects coordinator, both of Moore Norman Tech; Sheila Boaldin, assessment coordinator, Bryan Roybal, special needs adviser, and Tara Chase, career adviser, all of Francis Tuttle Tech; Tiffany Bruce, student services director, Tri County Tech; RaChel Crume, director of student services, Southwest Tech; Carly Jones, PATHS counselor, Stoni Peck, school counselor, and Stephanie Smithart, financial aid/registrar, all of Kiamichi Tech; Mindi Mitchell, employment specialist, Kristi Stephens, counselor, and Kari Stomprud, special needs coordinator, all of Canadian Valley Tech; Candyce Myers, director of student services, Chisholm Trail Tech; Shayne Stanford, career counselor, Autry Tech; and Sheila Williams, counselor/student services coordinator, Green Country Tech.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education offers the Student Services Endorsement Program every other year to help technology center student services workers to better assist their students.

“Building a network of support and resources is vital to student success as the role of student services encompasses counselors, job placement staff, career specialists, assessment staff, special needs coordinators and financial aid administrators,” said A.J. Crowell, career development specialist at ODCTE.

The program was designed for newly hired technology center staff, but veteran staff members can also benefit from it, he said.

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, 393 K-12 school districts, 16 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 31 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.

Northeast Tech Partners with MidAmerica Industrial Park on Industrial Maintenance

 

Northeast Tech and MidAmerica Industrial Park worked together to create an apprenticeship program to train industrial maintenance employees for companies in the park.

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The program, which is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor and was developed in coordination with the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development, serves as a liaison between MidAmerica employers and other key community organizations. The Department of Labor provides technical assistance for the formation of on-the-job work processes including technical instruction and has guided MAIP and Northeast Tech through the steps of developing the program.

Participants in the two-year program spend four hours a week in the classroom and the rest of their week at work. The program is in its first year, and the participants are employees at MAIP businesses, giving MidAmerica companies the opportunity develop employees from within.

Apprentices are guaranteed two pay raises within the program and graduate with a certificate in industrial maintenance from Northeast Tech and a Department of Labor apprenticeship certification.

Travis Smith – Metro Technology Centers

Travis Smith, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning instructor at Metro Technology Centers, recently received the Outstanding Instructor of Non-Traditional Students Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

He was one of 21 Oklahomans honored at the 25th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol on March 28. Making It Work Day recognizes individuals who are committed to removing barriers to success for single-parent families by providing educational experiences for students beyond the classroom. The ceremony also recognized nontraditional students and members who received national honors for their efforts.

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From left are Becki Foster, Oklahoma CareerTech chief of staff; Patrick Klein, Oklahoma DHS chief officer and division director of adult and family services; Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City; Travis Smith, Metro Tech HVAC instructor; and Goldie Thompson, OSRHE vice chancellor for student preparation and special programs

Individuals were recognized on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and presentations were made at a luncheon at the Oklahoma History Center.

Smith has worked in the HVAC industry for more than 13 years. While teaching HVAC at Vatterott, he attended an advisory board meeting at Metro Tech for his boss and met an HVAC instructor who was retiring, said Terri Grusendorf, Metro Tech BEST Program coordinator, who nominated him for the award.

“Not only does he help students obtain their HVAC certification, he also teaches them about interpersonal skills, communication and proper presentation in the workforce,” Grusendorf said. “Mr. Smith is a great example of going the extra mile for his students.”

OkCTEEC is affiliated with the administrative division of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. The council advocates for students pursuing nontraditional careers and for resources for educating single parents.

“OkCTEEC is so very proud and honored to host the Making It Work Day award ceremony and also very excited that Oklahoma’s Legislature has the opportunity to recognize those students who were nominated for outstanding achievement. This day is about recognizing not only outstanding students, but also business and community partners, instructors, OkCTEEC members and outstanding leadership. The students have incredible stories to share about overcoming barriers, but without all the partners, sometimes the barriers may not be overcome. This day is a day of celebration for all those who have vested their time and energy into seeing students succeed and rise to the occasion,” said KayTee Niquette, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

She serves as an adviser for OkCTEEC, along with Lisa French of the Department of Human Services and Gina McPherson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

“OkCTEEC Making It Work Day at the Capitol is about making connections, reaching out to the community and recognizing our students who have pushed through many obstacles to make completion and employment goals a reality. It is a day to celebrate our administrators and instructors who focus on making it accessible for programs involved in the process,” said Angela Barnes, OkCTEEC president and coordinator of the Student Success and Opportunity Center at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. “OKCTEEC Making It Work Day is a day to tip our hats off to our business partners for providing their valuable services and supporting our vision and purpose. It is a great day to let our state leaders, legislators and Oklahomans see the faces of those who go over and beyond at making a difference in our state.

“Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council is an organization devoted to equity in education and employment for disadvantaged groups. I can’t emphasize it more. We are dedicated to providing real-life experiences for our students, developing leaders and maintaining relationships within communities.”

OkCTEEC’s purposes include promoting and supporting career and technology education, increasing its effectiveness, promoting research in the field and in educational equity, developing leadership and advocating for equity and diversity.

For more information about OkCTEEC, visit www.cteec.org/. For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, visit www.okcareertech.org.

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.

Anthony Rifenberry – Adult Basic Education

Graduation and certification are terms this BPA winner didn’t expect to hear.

AnthonyRifenberry

THEN: He had been an orphan all of his life. Anthony Rifenberry moved from a series of foster homes to the Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch, now Lions Meadows of Hope. When he turned 18, he needed to find a job.

It was a vicious cycle. To get a job, he needed training, and to get training, he needed money. But the roadblocks didn’t stop there. Anthony wanted to enroll in Meridian Technology Center’s information technology program, but to qualify for the financial assistance he would need, he would have to have a high school diploma.

Anthony enrolled in the Meridian Tech’s adult basic education program, and in only three months, he earned his high school equivalency diploma. The ABE program gave Anthony:

  • The confidence to believe he could graduate high school.
  • Personal assistance with complex math and other subjects required to pass the HSE exam.
  • The knowledge and skills he needed to pass the HSE exam.

The smaller, more intimate classroom environment was one of the keys to Anthony’s academic success.

“I definitely learned more math at Meridian Tech than I did in high school,” he said.

NOW: Anthony is a member of Business Professionals of America, and his network design team won the state contest. The team will compete at BPA’s national conference in Anaheim, California, in May. After he graduates with his network and PC support specialist certification, Anthony would like to continue his education, possibly enrolling in network engineering or cybersecurity.

“I had convinced myself that graduating high school and getting into a technology center was not possible.”

Anthony Rifenberry

Gordon Cooper Tech Breaks Ground for Public Safety Training Facility

05e610d7-aac8-44f4-9bb2-1f0d14e70d7eA large gathering of community leaders, school officials, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel broke ground on the Marty Lewis Public Safety Training Facility recently at Gordon Cooper Technology Center.

GCTC Board of Education President Gary Crain said the board decided to name the new building in honor of GCTC Superintendent Marty Lewis because he fostered a culture of united purpose and commitment to serve people of this area.

A retired Oklahoma Highway Patrol supervisor, Crain said providing the latest and best training for emergency responders can make the difference between life and death in a critical situation.

“Leaders in this area worked with the technology center without division on the common goal of making our communities safer,” he said.

Lewis, who plans to retire at the end of June, acknowledged the support his family received from emergency responders when his son was involved in a fatal accident on Turner Turnpike in 2010.

“The police, firefighters and paramedics of this area deserve our respect and the best education and training we can provide for the future and existing emergency workforce,” he said.

The $5 million facility adjacent to 45th Street and the GCTC south entrance will house training for area high school students and working law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics.

The more than 20,000-square-feet facility contains four classrooms, a paramedic training lab, a firearm simulation room, a driving simulation room, a workout space, a large meeting room, a fire training tower and additional water features for fire equipment.

Construction is scheduled for completion in December.

CareerTech 2020 Agenda to Add High-Demand Programming

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A $21 million increase in funding would allow the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education to expand programming to fill Oklahoma’s skills gap.

ODCTE’s state appropriations request for fiscal year 2020 for the first regular session of the 57th Oklahoma Legislature targets narrowing Oklahoma’s skills gap through the proposed increase of $21 million that would allow CareerTech to achieve the following:

  • Fund more than 130 unfunded programs and provide for 90 new programs to be added to K-12 CareerTech offerings.
  • Add 12 new programs in state correctional facilities that would serve 500 to 600 more inmates.
  • Increase Training for Industry Programs by 10 percent to more than 3,200 enrollments.
  • Increase customized training by 10 percent to almost 300,000 enrollments.
  • Increase certifications/credentials annually by 5 percent, adding almost 2,400 more during three years.

“Oklahoma has a skills gap, and CareerTech has a solution,” said Marcie Mack, ODCTE state director. “Investing in CareerTech will produce more skilled workers for existing, unfilled Oklahoma jobs. It will invigorate program offerings in our K-12 schools and technology centers. It powers training programs for Oklahoma businesses, and it gives our incarcerated students a second chance at life.”

As a part of the appropriations request, $11.8 million would go toward paying the state’s obligation to fund the required health benefit allowance. If the state funds the current requirement, Mack said, it will immediately free up that amount to be redirected to CareerTech classrooms.

The appropriations request seeks a 14.8 percent increase over the FY19 budget of $120.4 million. While funds did increase in FY19 from FY18 levels, in the last 10 years Oklahoma CareerTech education has seen an overall reduction in general appropriations by 28 percent.

Industry leaders from across sectors that provide significant impact to Oklahoma’s economy emphasized the need to increase investments in career-ready education as a primary component of moving Oklahoma forward.

“The strongest pipeline to meet the demand in the agriculture industry is through CareerTech agricultural education and the FFA,” said Brent Kisling, Enid Regional Development Alliance executive director. “This investment in agricultural education, as well as other K-12 CareerTech programs would provide direct funding to classroom resources.

“I truly have never seen a more valuable program than Oklahoma FFA when it comes to instilling leadership and work ethic in our youth. CareerTech student organizations across the board add the workplace elements that help to make students successful. These programs are vital to training future generations.”

CareerTech’s skills gap solutions also help attract new businesses to the state and help existing businesses expand. In 2018 the CareerTech System served more than 6,900 companies, helping their employees gain new skills and adding new jobs to the Oklahoma economy.

“Solving the skills gap is at the forefront of an economic transformation pushing our state forward. CareerTech and their capabilities in upskilling workers, customizing training for industry and growing a pipeline of skilled workers is essential to keeping Oklahoma on the map for expanding and attracting companies to the state,” said David Stewart, chief administrative officer for MidAmerica Industrial Park and member of the State Board of Career and Technology Education.

Michael Culwell, campus director in Poteau at Kiamichi Technology Centers and president of the Oklahoma Association for Career and Technology Education, said, “Programs like welding technology, which give our students a high-quality wage for construction and manufacturing jobs that are in high demand in our area, should be expanded. The value of these programs and other CareerTech industry training programs are a priority to keeping Oklahoma’s future bright.”

Other items in the 2020 agenda include enriching work-based learning experiences, expanding professional development for CareerTech professionals and deploying new technology for career awareness. For an itemized list of all FY20 funding requests view the business plan and annual report for FY18 details.

ABOUT OKLAHOMA’S CAREERTECH SYSTEM

Oklahoma’s Career and Technology Education System is focused on developing a world-class workforce. This comprehensive system delivers educational experiences through 393 K-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 Skills Centers sites and 31 adult basic education providers and to more than 6,900 businesses. CareerTech’s mission is clear: to improve Oklahoma’s economy by providing individuals with the training and skills necessary to be successful in the workplace and by providing companies with the required workforce to compete globally. We are faced with a skills gap, and CareerTech has a solution.

For more about CareerTech visit OkCareerTech.org.
Learn more about the difference CareerTech makes for students.

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.

Justine Talmadge – Adult Basic Education, Caddo Kiowa Technology CenterJustineTalmadge

THEN: A recovering addict who started using drugs in seventh grade. Justine Talmadge was a mother of three who said she had no hopes, dreams or passions when she dropped out of high school. After spending six months in rehab, Justine said, she was clean and motivated. Her goal was to get her high school diploma and find a career.

“I didn’t want to be a nobody,” Justine said. “I wanted to prove I wasn’t stupid.”

She had tried to get her equivalency diploma three times before. She then enrolled in the adult basic education program at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center. Justine said ABE instructor Brad Shaw and the Caddo Kiowa staff helped her by

  • Offering a scholarship that paid for her high school equivalency exam.
  • Helping her discover her passion for welding, through a job fair on campus.
  • Working with her to pass the high school equivalency exam that led to her diploma.

“It took me 15 years to figure out what I am good at,” Justine said, “and I am good at welding.”

NOW: Justine is well on her way to becoming a welder. She is halfway through her first year in the welding and metal fabrication program at Caddo Kiowa. She said welding instructors Keith Theesen and his assistant Shane Wilson played a major role in her success.

“Justine is that student who comes into your classroom and reminds you why you do what you do.”

ABE instructor Brad Shaw

Francis Tuttle Tech Opens Industrial Technology Center

Francis Tuttle Technology Center opened its new Industrial Technology Center on its Reno campus with a ceremony Monday afternoon. The building opened to students last week.francistuttleindustrialtech

The new building accommodates expanded career training offerings with programs in welding and advanced manufacturing that duplicate the programs at the Portland campus and an Adult and Career Development Lab with space for short-term programs.

The building allows Francis Tuttle to expand capacity for the welding and advanced manufacturing programs that consistently run at full capacity and makes programs more accessible to residents in the southern part of the technology center’s district.

More information about the grand opening and the programs can be found in an article in The Oklahoman.

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