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.