Category Archives: Technology Centers

CareerTech Offers Funds for Rural STEM Program Recruitment

Oklahoma CareerTech is accepting proposals from schools and technology centers serving rural populations for grant money to recruit students into STEM programs.

Oklahoma is one of five states that received a Strategies for Attracting Students to High Quality Career Technical Education grant of $20,000 from Advance CTE. The grant’s objectives are to support innovative recruitment strategies; increase awareness of and interest in high quality CTE programs; and identify and develop strategies to close access and equity gaps for families historically marginalized from participation in CTE programs.

“Oklahoma CareerTech offers students the opportunity to explore careers they can be passionate about,” said Kylie Moulton, communications and marketing coordinator at ODCTE. “This grant will help rural schools bring awareness to the diverse programs offered to students through CareerTech with funds and marketing materials that may not be available otherwise.”

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education will award $1,000 to 20 Oklahoma schools and technology centers to run a sponsored Facebook ad focused on recruiting students into science, technology, engineering and math programs such as aerospace and construction.

“Students begin making career decisions as early as elementary or middle school, and most students only know about careers that a family member or close family friend works in,” said Tonja Norwood, Oklahoma CareerTech STEM program manager. “It is critical that students are exposed to STEM hands-on curriculum that teaches a concept and immediately allows students to apply that concept.”

CareerTech STEM teachers also incorporate into their courses Technology Student Association competitive events that align to STEM careers, along with guest speakers, TSA conferences, research projects, videos and OK Career Guide, Oklahoma CareerTech’s online education and career planning system.

“CareerTech STEM students learn how STEM careers will allow them to solve problems and use their creativity and skills to improve the future,” she said.

Applicants must serve rural populations — defined as fewer than 50,000 residents. They also must offer STEM courses and have an official school or technology center Facebook page.

Grant application documents and instructions can be found at https://www.okcareertech.org/educators/cte-grant/high-quality-career-technical-education. The deadline for submission is Oct. 8.

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 59 campuses, 394 PK-12 school districts, 14 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.

Meridian Tech Students Renovate Train

Students in Meridian Technology Center’s metal fabrication, welding, automotive technology and collision repair technology programs recently completed renovation of a train for the Hydro Free Fair.

The students began the project in 2018, working with the Hydro Fair Association to bring the Century Flyer miniature train back to its original glory. See before and after photos of the train on Meridian’s Facebook page.

The project was also feature on KFOR’s “Is This a Great State or What?” segment.

CareerTech Programs Receive Aerospace Grants

The Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation and Metro Technology Centers were among 50 organizations to receive Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission.

The foundation received a grant of $10,000 for the Oklahoma Education and Industry Partnerships. OEIP’s mission is to create a pipeline for partnerships among educators and industry leaders that result in meeting the workforce needs of Oklahoma companies.

More than 300 Oklahoma fifth through 12th grade science, technology, engineering and math teachers, counselors and administrators attend industry tours and educational workshops each year as part of OEIP.

“The CareerTech Foundation is thankful for OAC’s longstanding support of OEIP. The funding ensures continued connections between educators and industry, with a focus on the workforce needs in the aerospace sector,” said Gina Hubbard, manager of Oklahoma CareerTech’s Education Partnerships and Customized Services Division.

Metro Tech received $12,500 for the 2022 Aviation Career Exploration Camp for seventh and eighth grade students. The camp uses a STEM curriculum to teach students about the history of aviation and aerospace and the parts of an airplane.

Students also get to take an orientation flight to experience the principles of flight first-hand.

OAC awarded the grants at its August meeting. They are given to entities with targeted learning programs that have a direct application to aerospace and aviation for elementary through postsecondary education. The grant program has been awarding grants for more than 30 years.

More about the grant program and a full list of recipients is on the OAC website.

Oklahoma CareerTech Celebrates Educators’ Perseverance

Oklahoma CareerTech’s 54th annual conference celebrated educators’ perseverance, said State Director Marcie Mack.

The Oklahoma Summit is a partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. It provides professional development opportunities for CareerTech educators, administrators, school board members, support staff members and business partners.

Mack thanked Oklahoma CareerTech System employees for their commitment to continuing their work to educate Oklahomans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The challenges you faced were unprecedented,” she said. “We could not have imagined the surmounting circumstances that would reconfigure our lives and that of our schools and classrooms. But your passion and dedication to educating students and meeting the companies’ needs in your community prevailed, and our system continued to progress amid these trying times.

“This event is a celebration of your perseverance in navigating the shifting landscape and reinforcing why Oklahoma CareerTech is the best in the nation.”

Oklahoma Summit celebrated several award winners, including Oklahoma CareerTech’s top two awards, the Francis Tuttle Award and the Arch Alexander Award.

Lindel Fields, who recently retired from Tri County Technology Center as superintendent, received the Francis Tuttle Award, which is named in honor of the former Oklahoma CareerTech state director and is given to someone who has made significant contributions at the state and national levels.

Jeanette Capshaw, who recently retired as deputy superintendent at Moore Norman Technology Center, received the Arch Alexander Award, named in honor of a longtime deputy state director of Oklahoma CareerTech and given to someone who has demonstrated the qualities Alexander shows in his work in the system.

Shelley Free, superintendent of Kiamichi Technology Centers, received the OkACTE Bob Funk Advocate of Excellence Award, and Daniel Tysor, Moore Norman Technology Center web design instructor, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bob Funk Jr. of Express Employment Professionals was on hand to present checks from Express to four award winners: Lisa Symsack, Tulsa Technology Center, Support Staff Member of the Year, $5,000; Lorain McKay, Moore Norman Technology Center, New Teacher of the Year, $5,000; Nancy Howell, Great Plains Technology Center, Postsecondary Teacher of the Year, $7,500; and Leslie Powell, Kiamichi Technology Centers-Durant, Teacher of the Year, $10,000.

The following also received awards during Oklahoma Summit:

  • Joyce McClellan, Tulsa Technology Center chief development and diversity officer, Administrator of the Year.
  • Misty Bible, Kiamichi Technology Centers-Idabel counselor, Counseling and Career Development Professional Award.
  • Cody McPherson, Geary Public Schools technology engineering instructor, Carl Perkins Community Service Award.
  • Lucinda Francis, Moore Norman Technology Center literacy specialist/coach, Teacher Educator of the Year.
  • Eufaula Public Schools, State Superintendent’s Award of Excellence.
  • Teresa Abram, marketing and communications coordinator, Communications and Marketing Award.
  • Brian Ruttman, R.J. Curry, Athena Frank, Chelsey Graham, Elena Morales, Donna Lindly, Mikka House-Moore, Anita Parks, Ernie Gomez, Janet Portwood, Laura Manahan and Jodie Eiland, Dennis Portis Rising Star Award sponsored by American Fidelity.
  • Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber, OkACTE Distinguished Service.
  • Jerry McConnell, Moore Norman Technology Center director of safety and security, OkACTE Distinguished Achievement.
  • Allen Schneberger, Moore Norman Technology Center academic integration coordinator, Kaleidoscope Award.
  • Lamont Harris, Metro Technology Centers; Jessie Phillips, Kiamichi Technology Centers; Benjamin Evans, Pioneer Technology Center; Christie Rogers, Southwest Technology Center; and Matt Fix and Emily Brown, Moore Norman Technology Center, OkACTE Outstanding New Professional Award.

CareerTech Champions

Jesse Moore – Tulsa Technology Center

CareerTech grad got his career off the ground F.A.S.T.

THEN: He had aviation in his blood. Jesse Moore’s grandfather worked in aviation before Jesse was born. That family history may have been in the back of his mind when a group of students from Tulsa Technology Center’s aviation program gave a presentation at Owasso High School. Still two years away from graduation, Moore didn’t have much of a career plan, and the tech center presentation piqued his interest.

He enrolled in Tulsa Tech’s aviation generals, airframe and powerplant program at about the same time Sheryl Oxley started teaching. Moore said many of his classmates signed up for the program to get away from their high school for half a day, but he quickly realized there was more to the class than a change of scenery.

“Sheryl Oxley got me hooked,” he said. “She was even instrumental in my decision to join the Air National Guard.”

In additional to stoking his love of airplanes, Moore said Oxley and the aviation program

  • Helped him learn time management skills.
  • Showed him the importance of attention to detail.
  • Taught him how to read and understand manuals.
  • Gave him a general mechanical understanding and overview of how things work.

“Tulsa Tech gave me everything I needed for a long lasting and successful aviation career,” he said.

Moore and a classmate were offered a free trip to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Airventure, an annual air show and gathering of aviation enthusiasts in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Moore said it was one of the most memorable trips of his life. A decade later, he still volunteers at Airventure.

His first job out of school, Moore worked for Phoenix Rising Aviation, maintaining Falcon jets. He later joined a field and airborne support team with Gulfstream, a move he said catapulted his career forward. With F.A.S.T., he traveled all over, troubleshooting and solving complex mechanical issues.

NOW: After fixing a customer’s airplane one day, Moore was offered a job on the spot. He accepted the position he has today, corporate aircraft maintenance technician in Boston.

“A&P school teaches you how to learn and read manuals, do things correctly and understand why and how things work together. You can apply those skills to anything in life and become successful.

Jesse Moore, aircraft maintenance technician

Oklahoma HOSA members, advisers recognized

Three Oklahoma HOSA advisers were recognized as Outstanding Local Advisers at the virtual HOSA International Leadership Conference.

Receiving the honor were Bobbie Sue Joslin, Wes Watkins Technology Center; Paula Estrada, Central Technology Center; and Lulla Wilson, Emerson Middle School in Oklahoma City.

Also at the conference, Julia Lewis, Indian Capital Technology Center, received a HOSA Hero Award for performing CPR and helping save a man’s life. David Kelly, former Oklahoma HOSA state president and HOSA national president, received a Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

In the Anatomage competition at the conference, Super Baguettes from Tulsa Technology Center’s biomedical sciences high school extension program at Union High School placed third, and Team Rads for Life from Metro Technology Centers’ radiologic technology program placed fourth. This was Oklahoma HOSA’s first time to compete in the Anatomage event at the International Leadership Conference.

In competitions, Oklahoma HOSA members received three first places, four second places, five third places, four fourth places, six fifth places, five sixth places, three seventh places, two eighth places, one ninth place and three 10th places and had one person in the top 10 for the secondary health care issues exam.

Oklahoma HOSA was recognized for being the state with the highest combined volunteer hours for the HOSA service project, Be The Match. Oklahoma HOSA also won the Barbara James Service Award with 4,518.65 hours of community service.

CareerTech Champions

Julie Smiley Foster – FFA, HOSA and STEM

CareerTech instructor transitioned from blue coat to white coat.

THEN: The first female to become a national FFA officer. Julie Smiley Foster was a high school student in Mount Vernon, Washington, when she enrolled in agricultural education and joined her local FFA chapter. FFA is the CareerTech student organization aligned with agricultural education.

It was there she learned numerous life skills from her instructor and chapter adviser. That was back in the 1970s, but Smiley Foster still recalls how he coached her and helped her win the state’s public speaking contest.

“To be able to speak to people I know and don’t know, whether planned or unplanned, has been a gift,” she said.

It was a gift that kept giving after high school. A few weeks after graduation, Smiley Foster was elected FFA state president, the first female to serve in that capacity. It wasn’t her only first, however. She continued to shatter glass ceilings in college when she was elected Western Region vice president for the national organization – the first female to hold a national office.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism (with a double major in agriculture science and journalism) from Texas A&M University and a master’s in counseling from Midwestern State University.

In addition to helping run the family farm for more than two decades, Smiley Foster taught junior high and high school science. She said she uses many of the skills she gained from FFA both in and out of the classroom. In addition to public speaking, she learned

  • How to plan, organize and follow through to produce successful events.
  • The importance of saying thank you and the value of writing thank-you notes.
  • How to speak to adults in business and how to remember names.

NOW: A National Board Certified instructor at Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Biosciences and Medicine Academy. She teaches biomedical innovation and honors anatomy and physiology. Smiley Foster is an adviser for HOSA Future Health Professions, the CareerTech student organization that aligns with health careers education.

“CareerTech education is hands-on, problem-solving, skills-based and how-to-get-a-job training,” she said. “My purpose is to prepare students for the marathon of acquiring a career as a health professional.”

She said the professionalism she learned in the ag classroom is also a big part of her biosciences classroom. Smiley Foster said she hopes she’s a bit like her FFA adviser, Mr. Howell, who required the best of his students.

Link to National FFA podcast celebrating Julie Smiley Foster as first national officer

CareerTech Champions

Julia Lewis – Indian Capital Technology Center

Tahlequah calls CareerTech student a hometown hero.

THEN: A high school junior, weighing her career options, Julia Lewis enrolled in the health careers certification program at Indian Capitol Technology Center in Tahlequah to learn about the various jobs in health care.

“I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life,” she said.

The Tahlequah High School student said she knew she liked helping people, but she wasn’t sure which career path to take. At Indian Capital, she

  • Learned how to stay calm in intense situations. (See links to stories below)
  • Developed time management and organizational skills.
  • Learned how to work independently.
  • Received certifications in phlebotomy, nursing assistant, CPR, AED and first aid.

The 17-year-old’s career path was reaffirmed this spring when she was called upon to save a man’s life. Riding downtown with her friends, Lewis saw a group of people surrounding a man who was in distress.

“I didn’t think twice about getting out to help him,” Lewis said, adding that she got out of the car while it was still moving. The man wasn’t breathing, and Lewis immediately called 911 and then performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.

Lewis is being hailed as a hero and received an award from the Tahlequah Police Department. She also received the HOSA Hero Award during the group’s International Leadership Conference. HOSA is the CareerTech student organization for future health professionals.

NOW: The CareerTech program helped Lewis narrow her career plans within the health care field.  She is now a certified nursing assistant and phlebotomist., and plans to become a dentist or dental hygienist.

Her instructor, Andrea McElmurry, described Lewis as bold, brave, and mature beyond her years. She added that Lewis strives to do her best in every situation.

“She has a bright future ahead of her, and I know she will accomplish her goals,” McElmurry said.


Related content:

Lewis commended on Fox 23 News 

Facebook video of Police Chief Nate King honoring Lewis

CareerTech Champions

Larry Capps – Gordon Cooper Technology Center

CareerTech drove this shop manager to get his college degree.

THEN: His parents expected him to go to a four-year college and earn a degree. Larry Capps wasn’t sure that was what he wanted; he knew his true passion was working on cars. One afternoon when Capps was working on a friend’s car, he realized he was doing exactly what he wanted to do in the future.

Luckily, Capps’ mom didn’t stand in his way. She encouraged him to check out the automotive program at Gordon Cooper Technology Center, and he took her advice. He enrolled in the program, and when he graduated from Gordon Cooper Tech, he went on to get his associate degree at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.

Capps said the GCTC program

  • Taught him core fundamentals of automotive repair.
  • Helped him develop leadership skills.
  • Allowed him to work with some of the leading minds in the industry.
  • Showed him how to take initiative.

He credits CareerTech for much of his professional success. “The instructors at CareerTech were truly concerned with my growth and helped to ensure my skill set was honed for success in a dealership,” he said.

NOW: Capps is shop manager for Fowler Toyota in Norman. He said the core fundamentals he mastered at GCTC allowed for a smooth transition into the automotive industry.

“My passion for CareerTech has not diminished since I completed the program.”

Larry Capps, shop manager

NOTE:

In 2020, Fowler Toyota donated new cars to Moore Norman Technology Center and Tulsa Technology Center to help train automotive students.

CTSO officers attend CareerTech University

Oklahoma CareerTech student organization state officers recently attended CareerTech University at Camp Tulakogee in Wagoner, Oklahoma. Officers from all seven co-curricular CTSOs attended the conference, where they learned about goal-setting, time management, teamwork and presentation skills.

At CTU each year, officers participate in training sessions and group activities to help them lead their organizations. They also learn more about the Oklahoma CareerTech System during the event. CTU provides the student leaders an opportunity to come together and share ideas about how they can best represent the CareerTech System as a whole.

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