CareerTech prepared to answer Stitt’s call for more career training

Tuesday, 06 February 2024 20:10

CareerTech prepared to answer Stitt’s call for more career training Featured

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We agree with Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt that more should be done to improve workforce development and meet the state’s demand for highly skilled workers. During his State-of-the-State address on Monday, Stitt called for more workforce-oriented schools.

CareerTech program enrollment in Oklahoma secondary schools is 139,505, while enrollment of high school students in full-time tech-center programs is 21,765. These career training programs are developed in tandem with Oklahoma businesses.

But the waiting list for students wanting to enroll in full-time training programs at CareerTech’s 29 technology centers remains long at about 7,300 students. In addition, the number of Oklahoma high school graduates choosing not to go to college or pursue technical training is disturbingly high. About 38% of high school graduates don’t choose either path.

Hence, the potential to place more students in CareerTech programs and add more workers to Oklahoma’s talent pipeline is great. Through its network of 29 technology centers, 397 school districts and 16 skills centers, Oklahoma CareerTech is well positioned to close the skills gap and meet the labor demands of Oklahoma employers.

“We do need more workforce training, and we are set up to make that happen,” said CareerTech State Director Brent Haken.

Oklahoma CareerTech is ready to assist lawmakers in legislative efforts to provide Oklahoma businesses a trained workforce, Haken said.

But it will require a serious investment in workforce education and a meaningful expansion of CareerTech programs across the state. Preparing students for careers has become a higher priority for more Americans. Oklahoma’s investment in career readiness should reflect the state’s growing demand for workforce education.

Oklahoma CareerTech’s budget request for fiscal year 2025 is $201,956,568, a 26% increase compared with CareerTech’s fiscal 2024 state appropriation.

The $41.75 million increase in state funding would eliminate the waiting list at Oklahoma’s tech centers within three years.

The request calls for an additional $37 million investment in workforce training, including $10.5 million for health careers, $8.1 million for construction trades and $7.6 million for manufacturing. The rest would be used to add 37 new career programs in the areas of agriculture; arts; information technology; management and administration; public safety; hospitality and tourism; audio/video technology and communication; and science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Oklahoma CareerTech: Education that works for you

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 60 campuses, 397 PK-12 school districts, 16 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 adult education and family literacy providers.

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.

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 February 2024 20:13

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