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Director's Weekly Memo 2015-10-12

CareerTech STEM is growing; Oklahoman to sponsor Workforce Skills Gap forum; Woodward Chamber discusses education that fits; OkACTE wants your opinion about its services; GuidanceFest 2015 is fast approaching; CareerTech will officially kick off its United Way Campaign on Oct. 19; useful links and my schedule for the week.
Director's Weekly Memo 2015-10-12

Mark Thomas, STEM instructor at Meridian Tech

CareerTech STEM is growing

During the past five years, enrollments have more than doubled in CareerTech STEM academies – from more than 7,000 to nearly 15,000 for Oklahoma students from middle school through seniors in high school.

“We have one of the finest CareerTech systems in the nation. That is a direct result of the outstanding teachers who work hard to cultivate high-quality classroom experiences for their students,” said Becki Foster, Oklahoma CareerTech associate state director.

“Through world-class K-12 curriculum, high-quality teacher professional development and outstanding partnerships, CareerTech is helping students develop the skills needed to succeed in the global economy.”

Mark Thomas, pre-engineering teacher at Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, is an example. Thomas received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and was honored recently in Washington, D.C.

Fiona McAlister, biotechnology instructor from Southern Oklahoma Technology Center in Ardmore, received the Arch Alexander Award, one of CareerTech’s most prestigious awards for pioneering the development of the center’s Biotechnology Academy.

Jason Proctor, a CareerTech pre-engineering instructor at Tahlequah High School also teaches geometry, Algebra II, pre-calculus and AP calculus. He was selected as the 2015 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

Jackie Archer, a biomedical instructor at Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton and Frederick, received the top statewide recognition by Express Employment Professionals as the 2015 Oklahoma CareerTech Teacher of the Year.

As CareerTech continues to work to fill the skills gap, our educators are at the core of making that happen.

The CareerTech System can meet the diverse needs of Oklahomans and provide individuals and companies with the educational experiences they need to compete globally. Many individuals and companies have renewed interest in the power of CareerTech to transform lives and are recognizing the importance of a richer, application-oriented education as a way to improve our economy and our students’ performance in school and in the workplace.

Oklahoman to sponsor Workforce Skills Gap forum

The Oklahoman will sponsor a forum Oct. 14 to address the workforce skills gap in Oklahoma. The newspaper will publish a series of articles Sunday through Tuesday to outline various points of the skills gap and the needs of Oklahoma businesses. The articles will look at issues around the growing gap between available jobs in the state and whether there are enough skilled workers to fill positions.

We will continue the conversation with leaders in business, industry and education from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Oct. 14 at the Metro Tech Downtown Business Campus, 100 N Broadway Ave., Suite 300, in the Chase Building. This event will include a panel discussion, with questions from the audience, on how to close the skills gap in Oklahoma to create a better-prepared workforce. Steve Lackmeyer and Brianna Bailey will be the moderators.

Woodward Chamber discusses education that fits

Approximately 120 people gathered Monday at a meeting hosted by the Woodward Chamber of Commerce to discuss an education that fits.

I had the opportunity to discuss CareerTech’s goals and how all educational entities can work together to meet the needs of students and businesses.

We are all a part of workforce development as shown by the chamber’s illustration of Woodward Public Schools, High Plains Technology Center and Northwestern Oklahoma State University. The three educational entities have an “everybody in” mentality when working toward closing educational opportunities gaps and improving student performance from cradle to career.

I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this great event.

OkACTE wants your opinion about its services

OkACTE members are invited to participate in a survey to provide their input about  OkACTE services. The deadline to participate in the survey has been extended to Oct. 14. Click here to complete the survey.

GuidanceFest 2015 is fast approaching

GuidanceFest workshops are specifically geared for high school, middle school and technology center counselors. Topics this year will include reviewing transcript issues, navigating conflicts and OK Career Guide.

These workshops are presented by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education Career and Academic Connections Division. Melissa White, executive director of achieving classroom excellence and counseling at the State Department of Education, will be a special guest.

GuidanceFest dates and locations are listed below:

  • Oct. 21, Kiamichi Tech, Atoka.
  • Oct. 22, Great Plains Tech, Lawton.
  • Oct. 27, Moore Norman Tech, South Penn Campus, Oklahoma City.

To register, go to

CareerTech will officially kick off its United Way Campaign on Oct. 19

The 2015 Stillwater Area United Way campaign has begun. After participating in the Day of Caring in September, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education will officially kick off its campaign Oct. 19.

Several events are planned at the department to raise funds for the services provided by the 22 agencies receiving support from the Stillwater Area United Way.

Useful links

Oklahoma Horizon Schedule

For daily news about Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, follow us on Twitter at @okcareertech and find us on Facebook at OKCareerTech.

State Agency Assistance at a Glance

National Center for Research in Career and Technical Education

Lifelong Learning Foundations newsletters

CareerTech Hall of Fame

Share your best practices under announcements on

Schedule for the week of 10-12:

High Plains Technology Center

Woodward Chamber

Governor’s STEM Summit

Oklahoma Workforce Skills Gap forum

State Board meeting

CTE Summit conference call

Educational leaders luncheon


The only time you run out of chances is when you stop taking them.” Unknown
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