A look at the various delivery arms of Oklahoma CareerTech and the impact those have on Oklahoma’s education and business communities.
A look at the various delivery arms of Oklahoma CareerTech and the impact those have on Oklahoma’s education and business communities.
Nathan Herndon and Dawson Haworth were among 13 students chosen statewide for the program, named after British scientist Sir Alexander Fleming. The program was founded in 1956 as a way to give Oklahoma high school and college students hands-on biomedical research experience. It attracts as many as 100 applicants each year.
Fleming scholars work in state-of-the-art biomedical research laboratories on individual projects and are supervised by senior members of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation staff. They work at OMRF for eight weeks, typically in June and July. Scholars attend weekly seminars and social events. On the final day of the program, they give formal scientific seminars outlining the findings of their projects.
In 1982 the Fleming Scholar Program became a model for a national program funded by the federal government.
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.”
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.
The Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council honored 15 Oklahomans and eight Oklahoma businesses and nonprofit organizations at the 24th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol on March 29.
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.
Nine students were recognized from the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and award presentations to individuals, businesses and organizations were made at a luncheon at the Oklahoma History Center.
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 believes in the phrase, “It takes a village,” and wants to recognize all those who have helped nontraditional students find success. OkCTEEC serves as a unifying council for all personnel serving displaced homemakers, single parents and pregnant women, nontraditional students, at-risk students, teen parents and pregnant teens. The Making It Work Day award ceremony is an event that recognizes and honors all the dedicated and hardworking students, programs and community or business partners that have worked so hard throughout the year to see students’ dreams come to fruition,” 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.
“Making It Work Day at the Capitol is an opportunity to recognize the success of outstanding students from colleges and career technology centers who contribute to making it work in Oklahoma, as well as those administrators, instructors and community partners who have worked to expand opportunities and improve outcomes through their dedicated and invaluable services,” said Angela Barnes, OkCTEEC president and coordinator of the REACH and REACH4Work program at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. “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. It is about 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.
Articles about individual recipients can be found at: https://www.okcareertech.org/news/press-releases/2018/making-it-work-day-2018/.
Oklahoma’s CareerTech technology centers continue to make strides in providing business and industry services to more than 7,800 companies. The services help companies expand and improve operations by providing customized training and organizational development opportunities.
Economic development resources include training for industry programs for new, existing and growing companies as well as funding for training volunteer firefighters and for safety and health. Our agricultural business management and small business management services and incubators provide entrepreneurial consulting and training across the state.
The Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network assists companies with contracting with local, state, federal and tribal governments.
The 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.
Oklahoma CareerTech is a key player in economic development and has a part in several statewide initiatives to help Oklahoma’s economy grow.
CareerTech has taken roles in Oklahoma Works, New Skills for Youth, Launch Oklahoma, Earn and Learn, the Governor’s Workforce Council and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The goal of all is to equip Oklahomans for careers and provide employees for business and industry in the state.
Those goals, of course, fall right in line with what Oklahoma CareerTech is about, so it makes sense that we partner with other state entities in these efforts.
CareerTech works with state agencies in the areas of health, education, corrections, commerce, rehabilitation, veterans affairs, employment and more, along with regional business leaders across the state, including chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, Native American tribes and other community-based organizations, to achieve these goals.
Thanks to the efforts of everyone in the CareerTech System, we are ahead of our goal to increase the number of CareerTech education industry credentials to 13,806 by 2018. In FY2017, individuals earned more than 15,000 industry-recognized certifications and credentials.
But we — and our partners — are not stopping because the need for these workers is growing and will continue to grow. By 2025, most Oklahoma jobs will require some kind of postsecondary credential, certificate or degree.
Launch Oklahoma’s goal is to increase the number of Oklahomans ages 25 to 64 with education or training beyond high school to 70 percent by 2025. Oklahoma CareerTech is naturally a part of that effort. Through 391 K-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 Skills Centers campuses and 31 adult basic education service providers, we provide opportunities for adults and high school and middle school students to obtain education and engage in meaningful careers aligned with individual goals and industry demands.
Oklahoma CareerTech is also involved in New Skills for Youth, a grant through the Oklahoma State Department of Education, and Earn and Learn, a work-based learning program. We are working with these agencies and businesses to help Oklahoma students become productive citizens.
CareerTech has representatives on the Governor’s Workforce Council committees and subcommittees dedicated to supporting students and businesses. Goals include individualized career and academic plans for students in prekindergarten through 12th grade, expanding character education, creating a Career-Ready School designation and ensuring that Oklahoma’s education system is delivering workers who have the skills employers need.
Helping students discover careers they love and helping them learn the skills they need to enter those careers is vital to developing Oklahoma’s economy — as is providing employees with the skills that business and industry need now and will need in the future.
Accomplishing these tasks requires cooperation and effort from multiple entities. Oklahoma CareerTech is an integral partner in moving these efforts forward. More importantly, Oklahoma CareerTech helps Oklahomans be successful.