Skip to main content

Career growth made easier

Friday, March 08, 2024

By Brent Haken

Career growth made easier

Building bridges and breaking down silos in education has long been the tenet behind career and technology education.

Removing barriers and establishing partnerships between secondary schools, postsecondary schools and business and industry is central to Oklahoma CareerTech’s mission to get students ready for careers and college.

A great example of optimizing similar missions in education came last month, when the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and Oklahoma CareerTech signed a memorandum of understanding allowing two-year colleges to apply up to 18 hours of practical nursing credit earned at 28 participating technology centers toward a college degree.

In addition to expanding opportunities for students, the historic agreement is expected to mitigate the state’s shortage of nurses.

“It’s not every day that we get to talk about something that’s going to save lives and will make a difference for the future of our state,” said Rep. Kyle Hilbert, house speaker pro tempore and the next speaker of Oklahoma’s House of Representatives. “This is not about CareerTech. This is not about higher ed. It’s about students. This is a game changer for students.”

The agreement does a better job of coordinating strategies to alleviate the pressures on Oklahoma’s nursing workforce. Applying credit from CareerTech’s LPN programs to degree programs will lead to an elevated workforce and a more stable and reliable health care system in Oklahoma.

“Our public colleges and universities are focused on supporting student success and increasing degree completion in high-demand fields,” said Oklahoma Higher Education Chancellor Allison D. Garrett. “The new nursing articulation agreement reflects the shared commitment of our state higher education and CareerTech systems to create streamlined pathways between practical nursing and associate degree nursing programs, which benefits both individual Oklahomans and the state labor force.”

Agreements like this should be applied to other CareerTech programs, including aerospace and computer science. Turning CareerTech training and certifications into college credit means you can move up the career ladder without having to start from ground zero. It means you can save time and money from prior learning in high demand career training programs.

“Through this partnership, we’re investing in the future of healthcare in Oklahoma by expanding opportunities for students now,” said State Secretary of Education Nellie Sanders.

Comprised of representatives from public higher education and the CareerTech system, the Oklahoma Statewide Nursing Pathways Advisory Group met over the past year to discuss potential solutions to increase the number of nurses in our state. One approach is to reduce barriers for licensed practical nurses to earn college credit for completing the practical nursing program at a participating Oklahoma technology center.

“As a state, our health outcomes are impacted by an ongoing shortage of medical professionals,” said State Regents’ chair Jack Sherry. “This initiative to expand course articulation between technical and collegiate nursing programs will provide additional educational opportunities for nursing students and improve workforce development in this critical sector.”

More compacts like this can make a big difference in expanding career readiness programs in education and meeting the state’s workforce goals.

For more information about CareerTech programs and where to find them in Oklahoma, go to

Brent Haken is the state director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

Last Modified on Mar 08, 2024