CareerTech State Director Starts Community Tours in Enid
CareerTech State Director Robert Sommers, left, and Autry Technology Center Superintendent Jim Strate speak during a stop on Sommers' community tour in Enid.
Robert Sommers, state director of CareerTech and secretary for education and workforce development for the state of Oklahoma, made his first community tour Oct. 11 in Enid.
The tour was an opportunity for Sommers to listen to community leaders and to learn about the area’s unique business opportunities as well as workforce demands. He shared his vision for CareerTech in Oklahoma and plans to work with all education systems to provide the best education and training opportunities for all Oklahomans.
Sommers stopped first at Autry Technology Center, where he met with the Executive Leadership Council, composed of area business and industry leaders, to talk about critical issues affecting the area’s workforce. He also met with area comprehensive school superintendents, Autry Tech board members and agricultural education instructors.
Sommers also visited AdvancePierre Foods and GEFCO and met with representatives of the Enid News and Eagle.
Plans are underway to conduct tours in other regions of the state so that Sommers can learn first-hand how business and industry and education can partner to advance Oklahoma’s economy. He will visit the Woodward area Oct. 14 and will continue his tours until he has visited all regions of the state in the next 12 to 18 months.
In Woodward, Sommers will visit with area comprehensive school superintendents and High Plains Technology Center faculty and meet with the Woodward Industrial Foundation, a group of 15 to 20 community leaders that includes business leaders, chamber official, educational leaders and city officials.
Sommers will be the featured speaker at the Woodward Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon, which focuses on education each October. Last stop on the tour will be the Fort Supply Skills Center, where staff and administration will showcase the work offenders accomplish.
The State CareerTech Board recently approved the CareerTech System’s strategic purposes, which broadly define the system’s ends as “what good for whom.”
“The Oklahoma CareerTech System is charged with assuring every Oklahoman can be economically productive and every company can find the workforce it needs to prosper,” Sommers said. “This generally is referred to as workforce development. A more specific understanding of CareerTech’s work is presented as a series of strategic purposes.”
The strategic purposes are career development, career readiness, work and family studies, academic enhancement, career preparation and enhancement, customized training and consulting and curriculum and assessment services.
These purposes fit with the Gov. Mary Fallin’s initiative as the president of the National Governor’s Association: “America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow's Jobs.”
The America Works initiative aims to help close the skills gap by engaging education, business and government leaders in a dialogue about what governors can do to more closely align kindergarten through 12th-grade education, universities, community and technical colleges and workforce training providers with future labor demands.
By Paula Bowles