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Oklahoma CareerTech Students Spring into State Competitions

Spring is the time of year when some 35,000 Oklahoma students involved in CareerTech student organizations head to state conferences. The ultimate goal is to qualify for national competitions.

More than 71,000 junior and senior high school students and adults are members of Oklahoma CareerTech’s seven student organizations. Each organization is an integral part of the CareerTech system supporting related programs found on high school and technology center campuses across the state.

Annually, each organization hosts a state spring leadership and skills conference for students to compete in events, elect state officers and gain leadership training and networking opportunities. Students put competencies learned throughout the year to the test at the state level, with state winners proceeding to the national level.

“These activities are extremely beneficial to the students because they are part of the curriculum,” said Phil Berkenbile, Oklahoma CareerTech director.

Business and industry leaders are a vital part of state conferences. Professionals often serve as judges or sponsors for competitive events, as they preview their future workforce.

“Students who graduate from CareerTech programs are better prepared for future employment,” Berkenbile said. “They seem to transition more smoothly from school to career because of the experiences provided through CareerTech training.”

The seven groups and their conference highlights include

  • Business Professionals of America State Leadership Conference will host some 2,300 students at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee and the Oral Roberts University Mabee Center in Tulsaon March 9-10. BPA is the organization affiliated with Business and Information Technology Education. Oklahoma BPA members last year were elected as national secondary and post-secondary presidents – the first time in 15 years for both presidents to be elected from the same state. Last year Oklahoma BPA membership was 5,477.
  • DECA, the organization supporting Marketing Education programs, held its 67th Annual Career Development Conference on Feb. 23-24 at Tulsa Southern Hills Marriott. About 1,200 members competed in 35 events with scholarship offerings totally $396,000 for top DECA students from the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University. Last year Oklahoma DECA membership was 2,558.
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Education students involved in the student organization Family, Career and Community Leaders of America will attend spring conference at Oklahoma City Cox Convention Center April 16 for the 64th  state FCCLA convention. Oklahoma FCCLA has held seven national offices during the past 10 years. Oklahoma FCCLA membership last year was 12,301.
  • FFA, the student organization for Agricultural Education, will host the 84nd State Convention at the Cox Convention Center on April 27-28 in Oklahoma City. Some 10,000 students are expected to attend. Last year, Oklahoma FFA had 27 National Proficiency Award finalists, 11 national winners and achieved 33 National Three-Star Chapters – more than any other state. Oklahoma FFA membership last year was 23,526.
  • Health Careers Education students who are members of HOSA will participate in events at the Annual State Leadership Conference on April 7-9 at the Clarion Meridian Convention Center in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma HOSA claims the largest membership of postsecondary members and most National Technical Honor Society chapters in the nation. HOSA membership last year was 4,654.
  • SkillsUSA will hold its 45th Annual State Leadership and Skills Championship at the Tulsa Convention Center on May 2-4. More than 89 competitive events feature students applying the skills learned through Trade and Industrial Education. Oklahoma SkillsUSA since 1965 has had 43 national officers, 15 International Degree winners and boasts the largest alumni membership of any state. SkillsUSA membership last year was 11,518.
  • Technology Engineering Education students who are members of Technology Student Association will compete in 76 events at the state conference at the Oklahoma State Fair Park  and Clarion Meridian Hotel and Convention Center on March 29-31. During its 32 years of National TSA membership, Oklahoma has ranked within the top five states in the number of delegates attending the national conference with 27 elected national officers. Since 1995, Oklahoma has had the most middle school chapters in country. Last year TSA membership was 11,226.


For more information about CareerTech student organizations visit

Written by: Ann Houston

Publish Date: March 2, 2010

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