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Discover CareerTech and explore your interests

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

By Lee Denney

Discover CareerTech and explore your interests

Career and technical education has come a long way in the last two decades. But despite the many improvements and benefits of CareerTech programs, public awareness is still limited and outdated perceptions remain.

While demand soars for skilled employees in a modern global economy, Oklahoma CareerTech’s mission to prepare students of all ages for success in the careers of their choice has never been more relevant. But to fully meet the needs of Oklahoma employers and students, more parents and students need to know all that CareerTech has to offer.

You can start by visiting Oklahoma CareerTech’s website at to explore your career interests. At, you’ll find videos, podcasts, blogs, feature stories, newsletters and online materials about a wide range of occupations and the curriculums aligned with those trades.

CareerTech is not the vocational education of 20 years ago. CareerTech programs and student organizations are designed to simultaneously provide students skills demanded in the labor market while preparing them for post-secondary degrees in technical fields such as engineering, aviation, cybersecurity, computer science, construction and mechanics. In addition to specific career-oriented classes, students are offered opportunities that include internships, apprenticeships and in-school programs aimed at fostering work readiness.

Career and technical education has experienced a resurgence in interest over the last decade, as many states have successfully secured increased state funding for CareerTech programs.

In Oklahoma, enrollment in CareerTech programs is up across the board, and memberships in CareerTech student organizations such as FFA and HOSA rose 20% in FY 2022 to 95,390 members. The increase in enrollments and CTSO memberships reflect a growing realization of the value of a CareerTech education and the need for curriculums that emphasize career readiness.

In Oklahoma, enrollment in CareerTech courses in PK-12 schools totaled 127,875 in FY 2022, up from 121,735 in FY 2021. That number equals 31% of students in fifth through 12th grades. In ninth through 12th grades, 42% of students -- 83,580 -- were enrolled in CareerTech classes in FY 2022.

In addition to teaching individuals through technology centers, skills centers, PK-12 schools and adult education and family literacy programs, Oklahoma CareerTech also provides customized training and other services to companies in the state to help them increase profitability.

In FY 2022, CareerTech served 6,671 companies through entrepreneurial development, firefighter training, customized industry, safety training, adult and career development, training for industry and the Oklahoma Procurement Technical Assistance Center. The TIP program helped companies locate in Oklahoma and provided training for 2,941 new jobs, and OkPTAC helped state companies secure 1,775 federal, state, local and tribal government contracts valued at more than $392 million.

Oklahoma is regularly recognized by other states for having one of the best CareerTech systems in the nation. That’s because we’ve built a reputation for being inclusive and breaking through silos that traditionally separate the academic subjects from the skills and knowledge provided by career and technology education.

Oklahoma CareerTech has built a reputation for pursuing innovative ideas that break from tradition and the accepted paradigm. By thinking outside the box, Oklahoma CareerTech has been able to reach more students with customized training developed in tandem with Oklahoma businesses.

CareerTech is investing in emerging technologies and new learning methods to provide an education for our times. These efforts require an approach that emphasizes broad academic learning coupled with a strong system for CareerTech training.

If you would like to learn more, visit our website at

Lee Denney is the interim state director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Denney served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2004 to 2016. During her last two years in office, she served as speaker pro tempore.

Last Modified on Nov 16, 2022
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