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CareerTech helps Oklahomans Succeed

CareerTech helps Oklahomans Succeed

Meridian Technology Center student Chris Vann learns skills in the HVAC/Ground Source Heat Pump Capstone Course to grow his company.

CareerTech is good for Oklahoma’s economy, according to a report issued by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

The senator issued the report, “What Works (and What Doesn’t): The Good, Bad and Ugly of Federal Job Training in Oklahoma,” Tuesday. It is the result of a year-long review of job training programs in Oklahoma that included 70 field interviews and meetings with officials, Coburn said.

In the report, he criticizes federal jobs programs for wasting taxpayer money and not helping people find jobs.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, however, the report states, illustrates what Oklahomans can do when they “localize efforts for workforce needs.” Coburn also credits the Governor’s Council on Workforce and Economic Development, of which CareerTech is a part, and the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services with helping Oklahomans find work.

CareerTech succeeds, Coburn writes, because it “has the capacity to offer training and skills that are in high demand in Oklahoma’s economy to someone on-site,” while many of the federal programs offer no training themselves.

Coburn cites the local base of CareerTech’s technology centers as a large part of the reason for its success.

"Oklahoma's CareerTech system works with companies throughout the state to provide the customized training they need," said State Director Phil Berkenbile. One such example is at Western Technology Center in Burns Flat.

Through the training and assistance provided by the technology center, Superior Fabrication of Elk City has been able to add 36 welders to its payroll during the past two years. These jobs represent an increase in the local payroll of more than $1 million per year.

Terry Morse, Superior’s CEO, recognizes Western Tech as the company’s "training partner of choice." The expansion of Superior’s workforce has allowed the company to increase productivity by taking on more contracts. Its primary customers are energy sector companies

“Oklahoma CareerTech’s integration with the school system and local workforce allows for community influence in the training process; such factors have not gone unnoticed by Oklahoma’s employers,” Coburn states in his report.

He also quotes a report from the Governor’s Council on Workforce and Economic Development that said

Oklahoma employers believe CareerTech has a “finger on the pulse of Oklahoma’s businesses.”

Sen. Tom Coburn
Sen. Tom Coburn

CareerTech offers education and training for high school students and adults at its 29 technology centers with 57 campuses. High school juniors and seniors living in a technology center’s district attend for free and learn skills that help them move successfully into Oklahoma’s workforce or continue their education at a college or university.

CareerTech offers help to workers moving from one field to another, workers who lost jobs because of layoffs or other reasons and veterans moving from the military to private industry.

Through its 16 skills centers, CareerTech also helps inmates in Oklahoma’s correctional facilities receive training that will help them obtain jobs after release.

In addition, CareerTech works with Oklahoma companies – both new and existing – to give workers the skills they need so they and the companies can be a successful part of Oklahoma’s economy.

“It is interesting that Oklahoma’s major employers find Career Tech is better connected with their needs, considering Career Tech operates nearly autonomously from the federal government – funded predominantly through state and local tax dollars,” Coburn writes in his report.

By Laura Wilson, Editor/Writer
Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education

For more information please contact Paula Bowles, 405-743-5108,

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