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Students Enrolled at Tech Centers for College Credit Get a Leg Up on Education Success

March 14, 2014

High school students who earn college credit through technology center courses tend to do better in school – both secondary and postsecondary – according to a recent study.

“Research makes it clear that CTE dual enrollment courses improve outcomes for traditionally underserved students,” according to a report released last week by the Education Commission of the States, an organization that helps states work together in education and learn from each other.

Students who are enrolled in career and technology education classes that allow them to earn college credit are more likely to earn high school diplomas, enroll in bachelor’s degree programs and enroll in college full-time, according to the report.

“Reports show if you want to get better academic results and college completion rates and a more prepared workforce, the solution must include CareerTech,” said Robert Sommers, CareerTech state director and Oklahoma secretary for education and workforce development. “College prep and technology courses together give students more choices out of high school and increase the likelihood they will continue their education and careers.”

In Oklahoma, students can enroll in such courses through the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Cooperative Alliance program. The two entities launched Cooperative Alliances in 2004, but a technology center and a college in Oklahoma first agreed on such a program in the late 1980s.

Cooperative Alliances allow technology center students to dual enroll at technology centers and colleges and earn credit toward Associate in Applied Science degrees or college certificates. Students enrolled in the classes become college students as well as technology center students and earn college transcripts.

The Cooperative Alliance program is undergoing restructuring, but will continue to operate as it has until fall 2015, said Melissa Overcash, ODCTE field services coordinator. By fall 2015, she explained, a new process will be in place. Although its design has not been finalized, the Cooperative Alliance program will continue, Overcash said.

All 29 Oklahoma technology center districts have alliances with state colleges and universities. Through a course equivalency matrix, students can quickly see what courses will transfer among Oklahoma higher education institutions.

Career and technology education dual enrollment is growing around the country, by about 5.3 percent a year from 2002-03 to 2010-11, the ECS report states. According to a National Center on Education Statistics report in 2013, more than 600,000 students took career and technology education dual enrollment courses in 2010-11. In 2002-03, only 400,000 students were in CTE dual enrollment courses.

More information about Oklahoma’s Cooperative Alliance program can be found at More information about ODCTE can be found at

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 59 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.

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

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