CareerTech powers state’s economy

Published: Monday, September 13, 2021 By: Marcie Mack Source: The Journal Record

Oklahoma CareerTech touches and improves the lives of Oklahomans in many ways. Through more than 426,000 enrollments, the CareerTech system provides education and training for individuals and companies in myriad specialized and customized opportunities.

One of the strengths of our CareerTech system is its accessibility and flexibility. Students in grades 6 through 12 can receive hands-on learning while exploring career paths. More than 116,000 Oklahoma students took advantage of this opportunity in fiscal year 2021. Young people get to see firsthand how their passions can fuel education and training for careers.

More than 86,000 Oklahoma students are learning important leadership skills as members of the seven CareerTech student organizations: Business Professionals of America; DECA; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; FFA; HOSA; SkillsUSA; and Technology Student Association. Participating in career and technology student organizations increases students’ academic motivation, academic engagement, grades, career self-efficacy, college aspirations and employability skills.

More than 20,000 high school and adult students attend one of Oklahoma’s 29 technology centers. And adult enrollments in career programs, industry-specific training and career development training totaled more than 283,000. CareerTech students earned more than 14,885 certificates and/or industry-recognized credentials in fiscal 2020. In addition, through CareerTech programs, 93% of students were employed, entered the military or continued their education.

Not only does Oklahoma CareerTech work to fill the workforce pipeline, through its business and industry training programs in fiscal year 2021, CareerTech worked directly with more than 5,600 companies, helping them increase profitability through training, entrepreneurial services, bid assistance and more. These programs are customized to fit the needs of Oklahoma businesses.

Another valuable component of Oklahoma’s CareerTech system is specialized occupational training offered to more than 1,300 adult and juvenile offenders at Skills Centers across the state. These individuals are completing programs that will allow them to earn living wages for themselves and their families when they are released.

Individuals who dropped out of high school can also receive help from Oklahoma CareerTech. In fiscal year 2021, CareerTech served more than 1,000 students in Dropout Recovery and additionally served more than 8,000 individuals through Adult Basic Education, which offers high school equivalency, English as a second language and literacy.

Through all of these delivery arms, Oklahoma CareerTech plays a vital role in advancing Oklahoma’s workforce and powering the state’s economy. CareerTech – through its network of school districts, technology centers and skills centers – is helping to overcome the skills gap facing Oklahoma industries and employers.

We’re very proud of these achievements, which help fulfill our mission to provide Oklahomans the skills and abilities to enter the workforce and make informed career choices. The work we do across the state is yielding meaningful results for Oklahoma’s economy.

Marcie Mack is the state director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

This story originally ran on the JournalRecord.com. 

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