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Monday Memo 2014-03-17

Organizational progress; job performance documents will move to results and teamwork; CareerTech receives Regents award; how to get a job at Google; academics within CareerTech; picking up the pieces; and my schedule for the week.
"Be happy. It's one way of being wise." – Colette

Organizational progress

We are in the deep work of fleshing out our major processes, getting a handle on our information systems, getting focused on student/company success and breaking down old activity-oriented habits.

We are discovering work that isn’t contributing to school performance improvements. We are finding ideas for truly meaningful work. Frustration exists, but so does excitement. We shared the names of the regional agency contact points last week. This is the first step in providing a client relations manager for each CareerTech region in Oklahoma. Our purpose for this work is to assure all school leaders have a problem-solver on our team.

Job performance documents will move to results and teamwork

Everyone in the agency will be going through a transition for next year’s PMPs (job performance documents). The focus will be on student performance, market share, client and customer satisfaction, teamwork and quality processes. Stay tuned for some really critical work as we align our HR function to our strategic purposes and major processes.

CareerTech receives Regents award

Oklahoma CareerTech last week was honored to receive the Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award for its partnership with the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology. In its nomination, OSUIT noted the rich history the two institutions have in educating the future workforce for technical careers in high-demand fields. CareerTech also was recognized for collaboration on grants that have advanced significant state and federal initiatives, Cooperative Alliance agreements through which approximately 1,000 students benefit each semester and OSUIT’s collaborations with Northeast Technology Center in providing training and services at the Mid America Industrial Park Center.

How to get a job at Google

The pathways to employment are increasingly complex. Once upon a time, a high school diploma got you access to most jobs. Now a high school diploma is almost irrelevant in the hiring process. Then there was a period where a college diploma meant assured prosperity. This too has become questionable for any degree. Some degrees still deliver. Industry credentials are now becoming the preferred ticket to high-wage jobs. They always were for the top professions, such as law and medicine, but they are now appearing in many occupations.

And then comes Google. In a February New York Times column, Thomas Friedman, Google’s chief human resource officer, proposes that GPAs, test scores, diplomas and everything else we hold dear are really poor predictors for employment and career success. He notes the “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time.”

In an earlier New York Times article, Google Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock noted that about half of Google jobs are technical, mostly coding, and the selection of these folks is based first on technical skills and then on some key characteristics important to all Google employees:

  1. Learning ability.
  2. Emergent leadership – the expectation for everyone to lead and, when appropriate, follow.
  3. Intellectual humility – the ability to argue your case, but reverse direction when given new information.
  4. Ownership.

Bock said that education often doesn’t deliver on its promise. It is true for colleges and K-12 education in his mind. Friedman captures the essence of the discussion when he writes, “The world only cares about – and pays off on – what you can do with what you know (and it doesn’t care how you learned it).”

Academics within CareerTech

The Department of Career and Technology Education sponsored a Numeracy Tech Centers That Work/High Schools That Work Workshop at Moore Norman Technology Center March 11-12. Eleven technology centers, two high schools, seven middle schools and one alternative school participated. The workshop connected CTE curricula with conceptual categories of Common Core math practices and standards. The training focused on dispelling misconceptions and leveraging mathematics opportunities through CTE assignments and projects. The main focus assisted teachers in using tools and instructional design to emphasize conceptual understanding and mathematical literacy.

The participants will take part in additional professional development that will include training in designing their own curricula. They will bring their own curricula to the June workshop for additional help in implementing math literacy in their classrooms. On-site coaching will be available to participants during the 2014-15 school year to help implement math literacy in the participants’ classrooms. (contributed by Becki Foster)

Picking Up the Pieces

The March 23 edition of “Oklahoma Horizon” will look at what has been a long journey for students and faculty at Canadian Valley Technology Center in El Reno. Voters in the tech center’s district will decide April 1 on a bond issue to help the campus rebuild after last year’s devastating tornado. (contributed by Robert McClendon)

Schedule for the week

This schedule is subject to change without notice:


Senate confirmation hearing
Meeting with governor’s office
Meeting on key education policy concepts
Conference call on national innovation efforts


Meeting with Johnson, Parman and Barresi
Strategy session on educational issues
Governor’s initiative team meeting
Legislator and Celebrity Showmanship Event


General office work
Oklahoma Workforce Excellence Luncheon – State Chamber
Conference call on the Teacher Salary Project


Meeting on competency-based education
General office work


Meeting with Jim Hopper
Meeting on labor market data
General office work
Sale of Champions at the OYE

See you around!

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