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Director's Weekly Memo 2017-10-2

Careers in Construction Month observed in October

Gov. Mary Fallin's proclamation that October is Careers in Construction Month in Oklahoma.Oklahoma CareerTech will observe Careers in Construction Month in October.

This is the fourth year Gov. Mary Fallin has declared Oklahoma Careers in Construction Month to increase public appreciation of construction trade professionals and our state’s construction workforce. Oklahoma CareerTech and AGC of Oklahoma have joined forces with the National Center for Construction Education and Research’s Build Your Future Initiative to show young people and displaced workers the opportunities available in construction.

Since 1950, the need for skilled workers has tripled. More than eight out of 10 construction firms report having a hard time finding qualified workers.


CareerTech Champion: Aaron Gills – Kiamichi Technology Centers and SkillsUSA

Aaron Gills stands at a construction site.THEN: A Battiest High School student who says he “didn’t really have a plan.” Aaron Gills said he figured he would take welding, like “every other guy.” Luckily, though, his mother intervened. She thought Aaron would be good at masonry and convinced him to sign up for classes at Kiamichi Technology Centers. Despite the adage that mother knows best, Aaron still had a case of the jitters when he got to class.

“I was totally green to it,” he said. “I was nervous as a dog.”

His jitters went away, and he started working through class breaks, coming to class at KTC on Fridays when his high school was closed and working hard. With encouragement from masonry instructor Jeff Dunn, Aaron:

  • Learned the proper way to use a trowel, level and string, as well as how to handle the masonry mud, or mortar.
  • Learned how to lay out a wall so it would be plumb and square.
  • Became the Oklahoma Masonry champion at SkillsUSA two years in a row.
  • Began doing masonry jobs for a local contractor while he was still in high school.
  • Was named Kiamichi Technology Center student of the month as a second-year masonry student, based on his excellent attitude, work ethic, scholarship and talent.

NOW: Barely 20 years old, Aaron owns Gills Masonry in Hochatown. He is building fireplaces and foundations for cabins as large as 4,000 square feet. Not only is Aaron keeping busy as a full-time mason, he has had as many as two full-time employees working for him.

And cabins aren’t the only thing Aaron is making. “Making money’s kinda fun,” he said.

His advice to his peers? “If you work hard, you can make something out of your life,” he said.


CareerTech GuidanceFest 2017 slated this month

CareerTech’s Career and Academic Connections Division has provided professional development to high school, middle school and technology center counselors through GuidanceFest for 10 years. Each year, more than 300 counselors have attended the workshops, which are at five different technology centers across the state.

GuidanceFest is designed to strengthen the relationships between technology centers and their partner PK-12 school counselors. Discussions this year will include vertical alignment of career development activities, legislative updates, special education students, individual career and academic plans and OK Career Guide.

GuidanceFest sessions will be from 8:15 a.m. to noon. Counselors can attend one of the following sessions:


Northeast Tech plans open house for Rescue Training Center

Northeast Technology Center's Rescue Training CenterNortheast Technology Center’s Business and Industry Services will have an open house Oct. 10 for its new Rescue Training Center.

The open house will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the center on Northeast Tech’s Pryor Campus, 6195 W. Highway 20.

The new facility offers a variety of training scenarios for industry and public safety. The open house will include an opportunity to meet the trainers, tour the structure and see training simulations.


Morning show highlights skills gaps

CBS This Morning highlighted the country’s skills gap, especially as it relates to the construction industry, this morning.

The segment included an interview with Mike Rowe and included a photo montage of him at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Skills conference a year ago. SkillsUSA is the CareerTech student organization affiliated with trade and industrial education.

CBS This Morning

Oklahoma SkillsUSA


CareerTech events

OK Career Guide Training - My Ed Plans, E-Portfolio & Connection to Business, Oct. 2

GuidanceFest 2017 - Caddo Kiowa Technology Center, Oct. 3

OK Career Guide Training - ADMS & Implementation Strategies, Oct. 3

Long-Term Care/Nurse Aide Workshop, Oct. 4

OK Career Guide Training - Beginner and My Ed Plans, Oct. 5


Useful links

Follow us on Twitter at @okcareertech and find us on Facebook at OKCareerTech and on Instagram at oklahomacareertech.

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

Adult Basic Education Foundations newsletters

Oklahoma Works

OK Career Guide

CareerTech Curriculum

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. – Pele
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