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Monday Memo 2014-01-27

Oklahoma Business Roundtable event a huge success; press conference held in support of the CareerTech legislative agenda; exit interview results; movie magic; Tulsa Tech Center posts national officer win; when college becomes a goal instead of a way to economic prosperity; digital taskforce continues its study; special education materials being prepared; agency staff reach tenure milestones; reminder to follow on Twitter; and my schedule for the week.
Monday Memo 2014-01-27

Flanked by Oklahoma CareerTech Student Organization state officers in the Blue Room of the State Capitol, Robert Sommers announces the 2014 CareerTech legislative agenda and budget request.

"Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid." – Lady Bird Johnson

Oklahoma Business Roundtable event a huge success

With more than 300 business, education and political leaders present, last week’s Oklahoma Business Roundtable event was a tremendous success. The governor brought remarks and Nick Pinchuk, CEO, Snap-On Tools, shared an inspiring message about how America can continue to be an exceptional nation. His message was simple, we need to value people who do real work, if we are to assure the kind of middle class prosperity that has defined our country’s greatness. Henry Ford had a great idea, but it was the technical workers of his day that created the auto industry. Ideas and hard work go together if we are to be successful. Any society that admires the former and ignores the latter is doomed.

Bill Burgess, OK Business Roundtable chairperson emceed the event. Several of Gov. Fallin’s cabinet were present as was Lt. Gov. Lamb and members of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

Press conference held in support of the CareerTech legislative agenda

Dana Weber, CEO of Webco Industries in Sand Springs, and Fred Morgan, CEO of the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce, commented on their support of the CareerTech system and its upcoming legislative agenda. Youth organization officers were also present to support the message. Megan Mueggenborg, state officer in HOSA, emceed the event.

Exit interview results

The recent summary of exit interview results show staff leaving the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education do so to earn higher wages, reduce commute time, retire, or are making other life adjustments. The information indicates most departing staff would be happy to work with the agency in the future. Overall turnover rate is right at 4 percent, which is very low. Detailed results are available from the department’s HR folks.

Movie magic

Creativity and technology play vital roles in Oklahoma’s film industry. Next time on Oklahoma Horizon, we look at how programs at area technology centers are producing the award winners of the future. (contributed by Rob McClendon)

Tulsa Tech Center posts national officer win

Jan Bennett Bell, career advisor, Tulsa Technology Center, was recently elected the first ever, new vice-president elect for the national ACTE Guidance and Career Development Division! This position is a new position that was approved in late spring 2013 by the national Guidance Policy Committee. The vice-president elect will serve a full year with the vice-president of Guidance and Career Development. This will help Jan be fully involved in the leadership decisions before she takes the position in Jan. 2015 of national vice-president of ACTE's Guidance and Career Development Division.

When college becomes a goal instead of a way to economic prosperity

For decades, we have been preaching the college for everyone message. The only acceptable goal was when everyone attended a four-year college and earned a bachelor’s degree. Nick Pinchuk, in his presentation this past week captured it well when he said, “Americans believe any education other than a bachelor’s degree is considered a consolation prize. America no longer values work, just degrees.”

So what happens when we aspire to a one-size-fits-all approach and we don’t recognize the value of industry credentials and associate’s degrees? Here are some recent facts:

  1. Forty-one percent of college graduates indicate their jobs don't require a college degree
  2. Student debt has increased 6 percent annually from 2008-2012
  3. Seventy-one percent of college graduates in 2012 had student loan debt
    Sources: The Institute for College Access and Success, Gallup

Digital taskforce continues its study

The agency and tech center representatives studying digital content and digitally empowered school designs are continuing their work. Kimberly Sadler is leading this effort. A major state sharing event is now scheduled for March 5-7 and will include staff from Ohio. The tentative plans call for visits to Tulsa, Ardmore and Oklahoma City. Additionally, a special visioning meeting with Oklahoma State University and CareerTech staff is being designed for June. Stay tuned for great results.

Special education materials being prepared

CIMC, in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Department of Education, has completed the Special Education Paraprofessionals Workbook. A matching facilitator’s guide is in the works. Plans for a statewide rollout of the new editions are underway by OSDE and CareerTech staffs. (contributed by Craig Maile)

Agency staff reach tenure milestones

Congratulations to the following CareerTech employees who have reached a milestone in their service with CareerTech and the State of Oklahoma. Below is the list of employees who have reached the 5-,10-,15-,20-,25-,30- and 35- years of service to CareerTech and the State of Oklahoma:

35 years

Judy Brown, Lou Hargrave, Ruth Peace, Gayle Scott, Claire Zevnik-Cline

30 years

Joanne Dewald, Liz Walton

25 years

Kelly Arrington, Jim Bullington, Larry Bullock, Shelley Dawson, Todd Kucko, Larry Mishler, Randy Seales, Ron Skeen

20 years

H. L. Baird, Susie Cooper, Randy Feagan, Judy Haley, Rick Munn

15 years

Corey Clapp, Dawn Frank, Twila Green, Mary Hane, Andria Henderson, Debbie McElroy, Denise Morris, Owen Nelson, Kent Roof, Kathie Short, Debbie Whitlow

10 years

Brett Chase, Carolyn Cotton, Gary Flynn, Teena Friend, Gina Hubbard, Weldon Kilpatrick, Lori Laufer, Hank Martin, Rob McClendon, Jason Morgan, Joe Robinson

5 years

Richard Curtis, John Day, Darren Gibson, Tawni Hooten, Susan Kuzmic, Casey Martin, Josh Miller, Marc Montrose, Jeremie Moore, Wayne Stricklin

State of Oklahoma service pin only:

10 years

Cindy Schneider

(contributed by Liz Walton)

Reminder to follow on Twitter

Just a reminder you can follow me on twitter at @rdsommers. I look forward to having you follow the daily information as well as the Monday Memo.

Schedule for the week

This schedule is subject to change without notice:


Community tour – Lawton


Business and Industry Services Directors Meeting
Meeting with Gene Bottoms
National Tech Centers That Work – Oklahoma
National Governor’s Association meeting


Legislative Debrief
Meeting with Gov. Fallin and Burns Hargis
Meeting with Education Secretary agencies, boards, commissions
Senior leader meetings


Meeting with Ben Robinson
Meeting with Secretary Chris Benge
Meeting with Bob Funk
Senior leader meetings
Meeting with Jeffrey Corbett, PTA


Comprehensive superintendents’ advisory meeting
General office work

See you around!

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