Oklahoma Tech Prep
Oklahoma’s Tech Prep consortia were a nationally recognized effort that was instrumental in pioneering reform strategies for career and technology education. Through these pioneering efforts, several new initiatives evolved into best practices and benefited many Oklahoma CTE students.
The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education (ODCTE) administered the first Tech Prep programs through individual competitive grants in 1991. The first six projects funded began with a $150,000 grant to the SOAR consortium, the CREATE consortium quickly followed.
In 1994, Tech Prep launched Oklahoma’s School-to-Work system. Tech Prep and School-to-Work sites became national models to be duplicated throughout the nation. The National Center for Research in Vocational Education researchers used the Oklahoma Tech Prep system and School-to-Work sites as national models.
In the Spring of 2004, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, through the leadership of Tech Prep consortia, and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education began the transition from Cooperative Agreements and “banked” college credit to “transcripted” college credit for high school students through the Cooperative Alliance Program partnerships. The precursor to these new agreements, Cooperative Agreements, began 16 years earlier when in November 1988, the first agreement between Francis Tuttle Technology Center and Oklahoma City Community College was signed.
In 2005, three pilots are approved under the Cooperative Alliance Program and include Francis Tuttle Technology Center and Oklahoma City Community College; Autry Technology Center and Northern Oklahoma College; and Southwest Technology Center and Western Oklahoma State College.
The development of career clusters and pathways was championed by Tech Prep and served as the basis for the work by ODCTE in 2007 to use the Career Cluster Framework to move Oklahoma's CareerTech System from programs to courses.
In 2007, Oklahoma Tech Prep consortia were unified under the goal of increasing the number of Oklahoma CTE students who complete high school with college credit, pursue and complete a post-secondary credential, an industry recognized certificate or degree and are employed in the field in which they were prepared.
Tri County Technology Center enters into the final Cooperative Alliance Program agreement in 2008 and as a result of Tech Prep's efforts, transcripted college credit is available in all 29 technology center districts.
The National Association of Tech Prep Leadership recognized Oklahoma as a national leader in Tech Prep when they named Oklahoma as the recipient of the the 2009 Promotion of Tech Prep/Career Pathways National Award. Oklahoma was again recognized when it was named the recipient of the 2011 NATPL Innovation in Tech Prep/Career Pathways National Award.
Tech Prep as an initiative was eliminated from the federal budget in 2011 and Oklahoma was able to continue the initiative until 2012. During the final year of Tech Prep, consortia coordinators continued to prepare students for the future as they lay the groundwork for implementing rigorous Programs of Study. The Tech Prep Section of OkACTE was responsible for the initial funding for the Oklahoma National Technical Honor Society Endowed Scholarship Program.
The core concepts of Tech Prep - Articulated Credit, Programs of Study, and College Readiness, will continue through various school improvement initiatives and the impact of countless Tech Prep coordinators will be felt for years to come through increased student success.