Category Archives: Trade and Industrial Education

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.

Jimmy Hollis – Granite Skills Centerhollis

Skills Centers grad chose the right pipeline for success.

THEN: The maintenance supervisor at the Oklahoma State Reformatory, who wound up on the inside of the bars for drug trafficking. Jimmy Hollis said he was making a lot of bad decisions in his life at that time, and called his three-year incarceration “the worst thing that ever happened” to him.

Eventually Jimmy started making better decisions, including the decision to enroll in the Skills Center’s plumbing program. He had worked part-time as a plumbing apprentice before he was incarcerated, but even with his background, he said he learned a lot from CareerTech’s self-paced plumbing modules. At Granite Skills Center, Jimmy

  • Completed a 1,050 hour plumbing program.
  • Prepared for the plumbing journeyman exam.
  • Passed the journeyman exam before his release.

NOW: Running his own service truck for Andy’s Plumbing in Lawton. Jimmy earns $22.50 an hour, and he even supervises a helper.

“The CareerTech instructors pushed me to succeed,” he said, adding, “I use the skills I learned in the plumbing program every day on the job.”

 CareerTech currently offers training at 16 sites across Oklahoma.

“The plumbing program opened my eyes to the shortage of skilled tradesmen”

Jimmy Hollis, plumbing journeyman

EOC Tech engine build team wins nationals at SEMA

Note: The EOC team also placed fifth at the National PRI competition in Indianapolis in December. Team members each brought home $30,000 in scholarships.

The Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center’s engine build team members traveled to Las Vegas for the Specialty Equipment Market Association Auto Show to compete in the engine build competition — marking the ninth year EOC Tech has participated, and the third year they have left with a first place title.

EOCenginebuild

From left: Instructor Jim Lafevers, engine build team – Collin Dobson, Chris Hackney, Mikel Barba, Harrison Mayo, Bryce Pearson

Students Harrison Mayo, Collin Dodson, Chris Hackney, Bryce Pearson and Mikel Barba made up the engine build team. They competed in a total of three rounds over the course of the week and finished with a time of 18:35.6, making them the fastest team out of the 26 teams that competed.

“EOC Tech has competed in the engine build Competition for nine out of the 10 years that they have held this in Las Vegas,” Automotive instructor and engine build team adviser Jim LaFevers said, “Out of the nine years, we have won our district competition eight times and have won two national titles.”

Although taking apart and re-building an engine quickly and without error may be the primary goal of the competition, The engine build team is just that—a team, something LaFevers emphasizes to his students year after year.

“The most important thing I have learned through coaching this team and traveling with them over the years is that this is a team sport,” he said. “If they don’t work together, they fall apart and when they do, they are so much more successful. Finding the match to make the team is often the hardest part.”

Bryce Pearson, an automotive student and engine build team member was drawn to the team when he first enrolled in LaFevers automotive program and recognized the benefits that could follow if he participated in the competition.

“I wanted to be successful in something automotive and I thought this would be a great opportunity for that,” Collin Dodson said. “I’ve learned that if I dedicate myself and work hard with my teammates, I can achieve much more than I thought.”

The engine build teammates left Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 1 with their eye on an even bigger prize—the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) National Title.

LaFevers said students who have won the national competition in the past have gone to the NASCAR Technical Institute, worked in dealerships or continued their education as an automotive machinist with the money they received from the competition – something Dobson is considering himself.

“My future plans are to hopefully win at PRI in December and continue to study and become a diesel technician or maybe some sort of high performance technician.”

Win or lose, LaFevers is happy to encourage students to compete, learn about the industry and help them set goals for their future—and the engine build team is just one tool he uses to do that.

“This competition, learning to work as a team and even just meeting new students from all over the world, it helps them jump-start their career in the automotive trade. It helps them build their confidence and then away they go, working toward their dreams.”

Sadie Heath, Marketing Assistant
Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center

E:  sheath@eoctech.org; P:  405.390.9591 ext. 221

CareerTech Academy Helps Fill Skills Gap at Ditch Witch

With a low national unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled workers, particularly in manufacturing.

Ditch Witch

Ditch Witch employees participate in skills academy developed by Meridian Technology Center.

With plans to increase production and a goal of filling 45 newly-created positions, Ditch Witch in Perry turned to Meridian Technology Center to partner in a new training initiative. The program was funded in part through the Training for Industry program.

That initiative was aimed at filling jobs in five manufacturing areas: material handling, machining, welding, painting and assembly.

This month, eight employees graduated from the Ditch Witch Skills Academy with a focus in welding. Meridian Technology Center’s Business and Industry Services team worked with Ditch Witch to develop the customized program. During the nine-week program, those in training were hired on as full-time employees and received a salary and benefits. The primary requirements for getting hired were a steady work history and a desire to work in manufacturing.

Meridian BIS employees and Ditch Witch production supervisors collaborated to develop the training curriculum, delivery and outcomes for the skills academy. Meridian developed the curriculum, identified qualified instructors, monitored the trainees’ progress and evaluated the effectiveness of the training throughout the nine weeks.

The academy’s curriculum includes training in manufacturing fundamentals, welding and other technical skills, safety, computer skills, teamwork and communication skills. The students who completed the program received their OSHA 10, forklift, CPR/First-Aid and National Career Readiness certifications as part of the program.

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 comprehensive 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.

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.

Ethan Tucker – Red River Technology Center

Home-school student does double-duty at Red River Technology Center.Ethan Tucker

THEN: A home-school student growing up on his grandparents’ farm. Ethan Tucker never received a diploma, and when he decided to work outside the farm, his options were limited. At Red River Technology Center, he signed up for high school equivalency classes, at the same time enrolling in Red River’s HVAC program. He went half days to HSE classes, and the other half of the day he studied HVAC.

“I chose HVAC because there’s a constant need for heating, and in Oklahoma there’s an even greater need for cooling experts,” Ethan said.

Ethan said at Red River, he:

  • Earned his HSE diploma.
  • Learned fundamentals of electrical skills.
  • Gained mechanical troubleshooting skills related to heating and air conditioning.
  • Won both state and national titles at SkillsUSA competitions.

“I’m a competitive guy,” he said, “and SkillsUSA allowed me to compete while working on my troubleshooting skills.”

NOW: Ethan is an industrial maintenance technician for Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Lawton, Oklahoma.

SkillsUSA is probably the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Ethan Tucker, industrial maintenance technician

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.

Hailee Lindo – Canadian Valley Technology CenterHaileeLindo

Carpenter’s daughter learns design from the outside in.

THEN: A 16-year-old Piedmont High School student whose father was a framing carpenter. Hailee Lindo said she had been on a lot of building sites with her father. She knew she was interested in houses, but not in building them. Hailee says she wants to be an interior designer, and she enrolled in Canadian Valley Tech’s construction trades program as a way to get a head start on her career.

At CV Tech, Hailee:

  • Is SkillsUSA vice president of the morning chapter.
  • Qualified for the regional SkillsUSA contest in cabinet making.
  • Was named student of the quarter for construction trades.
  • Serves as CV Tech’s student ambassador.

NOW: Hailee doesn’t seem to mind being in a mostly male classroom, but she wishes carpentry wasn’t a male-dominated field. She hopes that in the future there are more female framers in the carpentry industry. In the meantime, she’s learning to read blueprints and getting familiar with building codes and inspection regulations. She’ll take this knowledge with her when she goes to college, where she plans to major in interior design.

Student Engineers Solving Real World Problems

October is national Manufacturing Month and Oklahoma CareerTech student engineers are solving real-world problems.

Students at Northeast Technology Center saw an everyday problem at Hopkins Manufacturing and developed a solution that saved money and created a safer workplace.

Aerospace Impact – Want One?

Oklahoma’s Aerospace industry employs more than 200,000 Oklahomans, and the industry is growing. Oklahoma CareerTech offers training in a variety of aerospace careers.

Click HERE to locate Oklahoma’s technology center districts and to discover careers in aerospace and more!

 

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