Oklahoma Celebrates National CareerTech Education Month
It hasn’t been hard this month to find out how career and technology education is helping Oklahoma.
Oklahoma CareerTech students, instructors, student advisers and business and industry partners around the state are celebrating CareerTech Education Month in February by telling how CareerTech education works.
CareerTech educators and students at technology centers schools across the state have been reaching out to their communities to tell the CareerTech story with social media campaigns, news stories, open houses and technology center anniversary celebrations.
The seven CareerTech Student Organization state officer teams and technology center student leadership teams have traveled to the state Capitol to learn how state government works and to let legislators know how CareerTech has impacted their lives. In addition, nearly 30 CareerTech business and industry partners were recognized Feb. 19 at the Capitol.
CareerTech shows students what education means in the working world, said Kay Martin, interim state director. Students learn how their success in school relates to their success in their future careers.
“I have seen education come to life for students in CareerTech,” Martin said. “CareerTech education brings relevance to what students learn. That is what sets CareerTech education apart. We prepare students for careers.”
Almost half of Oklahoma’s high school students are enrolled in CareerTech classes at comprehensive high schools. More than 83,000 students also learned leadership skills as members of co-curricular CareerTech student organizations: FFA; Family, Careers and Community Leaders of America; SkillsUSA; Technology Student Association; Business Professionals of America; HOSA; and DECA.
Oklahoma’s technology centers reported total enrollments of 391,882 in fiscal year 2012.
High school students can attend their technology centers in their districts for free, learning skills that will help them land good jobs after school and position them to continue their education after graduation. Certifications earned through CareerTech courses give students entrance into higher-paying fields of work and can also help them obtain higher education without incurring excessive debt.
Adult students at the technology centers can learn new skills and earn certificates and certifications to get jobs, change careers or advance in their current careers.
In addition, CareerTech students got a jump start on college education through Cooperative Alliances. The alliances between higher education institutions and technology centers allow students to obtain associate degree credit for classes they take at technology centers.
CareerTech students were enrolled in more than 76,000 college credit hours during the 2011-12 academic year. Since fall 2006, CareerTech students have enrolled in more than 450,000 college credit hours.
CareerTech helps provide qualified employees for Oklahoma’s businesses and industries by preparing state residents for successful careers, but it also helps business and industry directly.
CareerTech’s Business and Industry Services Division helped more than 6,900 companies increase their profitability with increased sales, higher productivity, reduced costs and expanded operations. The division helped attract companies to Oklahoma and provided training for almost 2,100 new jobs and helped state companies get more than $163 million in contracts through the Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network.
In addition, through the Training for Industry Program, CareerTech helped 65 companies add 2,173 new jobs with an annual payroll of more than $76 million.
The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 57 campuses, 393 comprehensive school districts and 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities.
The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.
By Laura Wilson, writer/editor
Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education