Students Shine at CareerTech State Conferences
More than 35,000 students from the seven Oklahoma CareerTech Student Organizations will be gathering in Tulsa, Okmulgee, Stillwater and Oklahoma City for state conferences through the first of May.
Annually, each organization hosts a state spring leadership and skills conference for students to compete in events, elect state officers and gain leadership training and networking opportunities. Ranging from middle school through adult, students put competencies learned throughout the year to the test. State winners then proceed to the national level.
The DECA State Career Development Conference kicked off the 2013 CTSO spring conference season in mid-February. DECA is the co-curricular student organization for Marketing Education.
Each CTSO is integral to the Oklahoma CareerTech System, according to State CareerTech Interim Director Kay Martin.
"These activities are extremely beneficial to the students because they are part of the curriculum," Martin said. "Students receive career exploration, clinical, internships, on-the-job training and leadership opportunities, education and training for marketable job skills and college preparation."
Business and industry leaders are also a vital part of state conferences. Professionals often serve as judges or sponsors for competitive events, as they preview their future workforce.
Nearly half of all Oklahoma high school students – 82,822 - and 36,400 in Grades 6-8 are enrolled in CareerTech courses. Some 83,415 middle school through senior high school students and adults are members of Oklahoma CareerTech's seven student organizations.Each organization supports related programs found at 544 schools and 57 technology center campuses across the state.
"Students who are CareerTech graduates are better prepared for future employment," Martin said. "They earn industry-valued skills, credits for high school graduation and Oklahoma's Promise, college credit and industry certifications and seem to transition more smoothly from school to career because of the experiences provided through CareerTech training."
Oklahoma CareerTech Student Organization 2013 spring conference schedule includes:
• Business Professionals of America State Leadership Conference will host students at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee on March 5-6. BPA is the co-curricular organization affiliated with Business and Information Technology Education.
• DECA hosted its 70th Annual DECA State Career Development Conference on Feb.12-13 at Tulsa Southern Hills Marriott. DECA is the co-curricular student organization affiliated with Marketing Education.
• The 67th Annual Family, Career and Community Leaders of America State Convention will be held at the Oklahoma City Cox Convention Center on April 5. FCCLA is the CTSO affiliated with Family and Consumer Sciences Education.
• FFA, the student organization affiliated with Agricultural Education, will host the 87th State FFA Convention on April 30-May1 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
• The HOSA State Leadership Conference will be held on April 10-11 at the Meridian Convention Center in Oklahoma City. HOSA is the co-curricular student organization affiliated with Health Careers Education.
• The SkillsUSA 48h Annual State Leadership and Skills Championship will be held at the Tulsa Convention Center on April 21-23. SkillsUSA is the co-curricular CTSO affiliated with Trade and Industrial Education.
• The Technology Student Association State Conference will be held at the Oklahoma State University Wes Watkins Center and Payne County Expo Center, Stillwater on March 27-29. TSA is affiliated with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
* Photo: 2012-13 State Presidents, from the left - Mason Russell, BPA; Emma Hutchison, DECA; Tyler Watson, HOSA; Jaycee Bauer, TSA; Cole Courtright, FCCLA; Brandon Baumgarten, FFA; and Kelsey McClure, SkillsUSA.
By Ann Houston
Communications and Marketing