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Director's Weekly Memo 2018-10-22

CareerTech Champion: Ashley Hobbs – High Plains Technology Center

Ashley HobbsTHEN: An Arnett High School student who was fascinated by the wind turbines she saw on her way to and from school and always wanted to know how they worked. Ashley Hobbs put that curiosity on hold after high school and went to work as a corrections officer and dispatcher in the corrections system. Later, as a single mom, Ashley was looking for a career change and discovered the wind turbine technician program, a Business and Industry Services program at High Plains Technology Center. 

“The program and the instructors are amazing,” she said. At High Plains, Ashley

  • Learned electrical and hydraulic troubleshooting.
  • Learned the pitch hub systems and turbine systems in general.
  • Received an advanced wind turbine technician certificate.
  • Was named a Wind at Our Backs scholar, receiving a $2,500 scholarship from an organization called Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy.

NOW: A wind turbine technician at GE, Ashley not only knows how wind turbines work, she is making sure that they do. Her new job helps her support her two daughters, and she plans to eventually get her associate degree and continue working in wind energy. For some, wind energy may be considered a non-traditional career for a woman, but Ashley says it's one of the best choices she has made.

"Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do as well as the men," she said. "Keep your head up...and prove you can do it." 

And that is exactly what Ashley is doing. 

“Wind is crucial for our future when it comes to clean energy and power. Wind will always be here.”

Ashley Hobbs, wind turbine technician


Meridian Technology Center partners with Ditch Witch

Ditch Witch and Meridian Tech
Meridian staff members and academy instructors attended the graduation of the eight new Ditch Witch employees whom they helped to train.
A low national unemployment rate of 3.7 percent means companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled workers, particularly in manufacturing. With plans to increase production and a goal of filling 45 newly-created positions, Ditch Witch in Perry turned to Meridian Technology Center to partner in a new training initiative funded in part through the Training for Industry Program.

That initiative was aimed at filling jobs in five manufacturing areas: material handling, machining, welding, painting and assembly. This month, eight employees graduated from the Ditch Witch Skills Academy, with a focus in welding.

Meridian Technology Center’s Business and Industry Services team worked with Ditch Witch to develop the customized program. During the nine-week program, those in training were hired on as full-time employees and received a salary and benefits.

The Meridian team and Ditch Witch production supervisors collaborated to develop the training curriculum, delivery and outcomes for the skills academy. Meridian developed the curriculum, identified qualified instructors, monitored the trainees’ progress and evaluated the effectiveness of the training throughout the nine weeks.

The academy curriculum includes training in manufacturing fundamentals, welding and other technical skills, safety, computer skills, teamwork and communication skills. The students who completed the program received their OSHA 10, forklift, CPR/First-Aid and National Career Readiness certifications as part of the program

GuidanceFest around the state

The Oklahoma CareerTech Career and Academic Connections Division recently completed GuidanceFest for 2018.

CareerTech has offered the highly rated professional development for high school and middle school counselors and technology center counselors/student services staff for 11 years. This year, 314 participants received legislative updates from both ODCTE and the Oklahoma State Department of Education. They also learned best practices for ICAP implementation from around the state.

GuidanceFest 2018 was held at Autry Tech, Red River Tech, Tulsa Tech - Owasso, Pontotoc Tech and Eastern Oklahoma County Tech.


Advance CTE members hear about ODCTE’s diversity and inclusion efforts

Oklahoma CareerTech Equity and Diversity Specialist Quentin Sanders spoke recently at the Advance CTE 2018 Fall Meeting Oct. 23 in Baltimore, Maryland.

He presented a joint session, “Building Trust to Ensure Equity,” with representatives of the Wisconsin Technical College System. Sanders led an icebreaker discussion about how state agencies think about equity internally. In addition, he discussed ODCTE’s diversity and inclusion training initiatives that address inequities.


CareerTech events

OK Career Guide - Navigator Training, Oct. 26

CareerTech Teacher Institute 2018-2019 Cohort, Oct. 26

Oklahoma State TCTW-HSTW Network Project Based Learning Training Series, Nov. 1

November Basic ctYou Classroom Development, Nov. 6

TechCAP, Nov. 8


Useful links

Follow us on Twitter at @okcareertech and find us on Facebook at OKCareerTech and on Instagram at oklahomacareertech and read our blog, Oklahoma CareerTech Delivers.

For news about Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, subscribe to CareerTech communications.

State Agency Assistance at a Glance

National Center for Research in Career and Technical Education

Oklahoma Works

OK Career Guide

CareerTech Curriculum

But we are strong, each in our purpose, and we are all more strong together.
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