Oklahoma Gov. Keven Stitt recently issued a proclamation making February Career and Technical Education Appreciation Month.
The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education ( ODCTE) has been focused on helping Oklahomans succeed. During the past year they have responded to new needs by adding new programs.
“Oklahoma CareerTech continues to deliver high quality education despite the pandemic,” ODCTE State Director Marcie Mack shared. “We remain laser-focused on the multiple career paths for students and meeting the workforce needs of businesses and industries in the state.”
Expanding programs in direct response to covid, Oklahoma CareerTech continued filling gaps in skills for employees and employers.
“The work of Oklahoma CareerTech across the state provides meaningful results for Oklahoma’s economy,” Mack said.
Several new educational initiatives were pursued, partnering with a diversity of organizations throughout the State.
A nursing refresher course was revamped with University of Oklahoma’s College of Nursing. This helped get nurses back into the field faster. Additionally, nursing students in tech centers across the state have helped with testing and vaccination clinics.
Certification exams were offered to veterinary assistants with the help of the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol worked with the CareerTech Testing Center to use the Oklahoma Peace Officer Screening and Selection Exam developed by CTTC for OHP Academy applicants.
The new VirtualJobShadow.com was launched by Oklahoma CareerTech introducing more than 16,000 pre-K through 12th grade students to nontraditional career opportunities. For students doing virtual and distance learning, the video-based platform proved to be ideal for tech center district schools.
High Plains Technology Center in Woodward has continually had a significant impact across the area.
"The effect that these programs have on Northwest Oklahoma is a highlight to why career and technical education are at the center of most discussions in education. HPTC through our middle school TAP program, our Daytime offerings, and the Business and Industry programs as well as the Career and Technical programs in our High schools such as Ag education and Family and Consumer sciences are teaching students how to apply educational theory," said incoming High Plains Superintendent Barclay Holt.
"Through any Career Tech program we continue to challenge ourselves to making the curriculum not only applicable and hands on, but likewise something HPTC students and the companies they work for can directly measure and attribute to moving their bottom line in the right direction. Historically Vocational and now Career and Technical education as it is currently referred to is always ready and willing to address the most current needs for Northwest Oklahoma and our state in a very timely fashion," Holt added.
As schools pivoted to distance learning last year, instructors used CareerTech courses to develop ways to help students continue learning as they finished the year, even offering additional instructional resources and guidance.
CareerTech classes across the state helped front-line workers by donating medical supplies, masks and more.
CareerTech skills centers operate in Oklahoma’s correctional and juvenile detention facilities. Employees developed new processes better serving graduates by reducing barriers to reintegration. They were also able to improve communication, teamwork and probability of graduate success.
One of the arguably most exciting new programs developed was the online meat processing courses to fill a workforce shortage in the meat processing industry over the past year, not to mention the mobile meat processing laboratory.
Over 30 percent of sixth through 12th grade and almost half of ninth through 12th grade students enrolled in CareerTech courses to learn more about agricultural, business, family and consumer sciences, health career, marketing, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as various trades and industries.