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1971-1990

1971 -The first Skills Centers offer vocational training classes to inmates under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Corrections.

• Launched with funds from a federal grant, the SDVTE refashions mobile homes and dispatches them to seven of southeastern Oklahoma’s poorest counties, where they serve as mobile counseling and guidance centers. The pilot program will be so successful that it will be extended to fourteen southeastern counties, and two new mobile units will be added, one based in Oklahoma County, the other in Burns Flat, for the state’s southwestern region.

1972 - A new staff position is added to the SDVTE’s administration — deputy state director — and filled by Arch Alexander. In that capacity, Alexander will relieve Francis Tuttle of the responsibility for day-to-day oversight of the headquarters staff and free him for other purposes.

• Congressional approval of the Vocational Education Amendments of 1972 expands occupational training, especially at the postsecondary level.

1973 - Tensions surface between the State Department of Vocational-Technical Education and the State Regents for Higher Education. At issue is control over the vocational programs that are offered through the state colleges and universities. The parties agree to compromise their differences beginning this year by entering into formal contracts whereby the SDVTE agrees to hand over to the regents the federal funds that it receives to support vocational education that is offered at the postsecondary level. Such compromises will only delay final resolution, until the two parties can take their differences to the state supreme court. The court will decide the issue in favor of the SDVTE.

1974 - The Oklahoma Health Occupations Student Organization (OHOSO) is formed as the student club associated with the Division of Health Occupations. Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) will be officially organized in 1976 with Oklahoma as a charter state.

1975 - Encouraged by the United States Office of Education, Oklahoma takes the lead in organizing the Mid-America Vocational Curriculum Consortium, a multi-state project to coordinate, develop, and distribute curriculum materials that are usable across the entire central portion of the United States. Ann Benson, who joined the state staff as a curriculum specialist in 1973, will direct the project over its first ten years.

1976 - As a measure of vocational education’s contributions to bringing new investments and jobs to Oklahoma, its various programs — the Training for Industry (TIP) projects in particular — are credited with being major factors in this year’s increase of $58,471,000 in capital investments in Oklahoma and the addition of 2,672 new jobs for its people.

• Best known for its forbidding gender discrimination or bias in vocational education’s programming, the Vocational Education Amendments of 1976 are approved by Congress and signed into law by President Gerald R. Ford.

1977 - In June, Goodyear Tire & Rubber breaks ground to build a major manufacturing plant at Lawton. The company credits the Great Plains AVTS for its choice of the site. In fact, Goodyear will use the campus of the AVTS to train all of the employees it will have to hire until its own facilities are fully operational. Over the next quarter-century, Goodyear’s Lawton plant will undergo seven major expansions at a combined cost of $5.5 billion to become the world’s largest single producer of tires and pump $150 million annually into the local economy. Some 4,900 area residents will work there at one time or another over those 25 years; and 2,300 of them will be Goodyear employees in 2002 alone.

1978 - With the Moore-Norman AVTS responsible for the pilot program, the SDVTE prepares a job counseling, training, and placement service for what it describes as displaced homemakers. It thereafter will be added as a continuing service, and the U.S. Department of Labor will urge other states to consider it a model for similar programs across the nation.

• The American Industrial Arts Student Association (AIASA) is established with Oklahoma as one of the first state associations to charter. In 1988, the name will be changed to the Technology Student Association (TSA).

1984 - As a measure of the value that Oklahoma employers attach to SDVTE training, an estimated two-thirds of the state’s largest and most competitive firms have made vo-tech certification a minimum requirement for hiring.

• Roy Peters, at the time head of the Canadian Valley AVTS, is picked to fill the newly authorized position of associate state director.

1985 - On December 31, Francis Tuttle retires after eighteen years of service as state director of vocational education. He is to be succeeded by his associate state director, Roy Peters. At the time of transition, vocational enrollments total over 200,000; and the system maintains a network of 25 area school districts with 41 sites across the state.

1986 - In his first year as state director, Roy Peters oversees the development of twenty-one Bid Assistance Centers. Located at various AVTS sites, the centers help Oklahoma firms collect $200 million in federal government contracts.

1987 - Due to the strengths of their AVTS facilities, two college-town rivals, Norman and Stillwater, land major new industries. For Norman, it is the newest manufacturing plant to be built by Hitachi, a Tokyo-based and globally involved high-tech firm. Stillwater’s plum is a state-of-the-art production plant that will operate through a subsidiary of World Color Press.

• The State Department of Vocational and Technical Education and the State Regents for Higher Education begin to coordinate the parallel vocational programs that they offer at both area schools and nearby colleges. The first set of agreements matches programs in just four pairs of institutions. By 1993, there will be 180 more of these agreements in place, and the total will pass 250 by 1995.

1988 - The State Department of Vocational and Technical Education adds a Small Business Innovation Research program to help Oklahoma’s technology-oriented firms compete for federal research and development monies. Similarly, the department’s new Technology Transfer Network connects the state’s companies directly to federal laboratories and assures them access to the other resources that are available through a number of federal agencies.

• New business programs are developed and directed specifically for the owners of small business (those employing fewer than twenty persons), medium-sized businesses, and for individuals who are considering opening their own businesses.

• The state agency informally drops the word State from the department name, making it the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education (ODVTE).

• Francis Tuttle is honored with election to the presidency of the American Vocational Association.g-day enrollment of 839.