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Director's Memo 2023-2-13

Monday, February 13, 2023

OkPTAC becomes OkAPEX, but mission remains the same

The Oklahoma Procurement Technical Assistance Center has a new name, but its mission is the same: to help Oklahoma businesses secure contracts and other sales worth billions of dollars with government entities.

OkPTAC is now Oklahoma APEX Accelerator, a name that the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education chose in coordination with a recent change in the federal grant program under the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Oklahoma Accelerator is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Defense, which changed the program name in November. The new name will help build a consistent awareness across federal agencies and local businesses, said Carter Merkle, OkAPEX program manager.

Read more on the Oklahoma CareerTech website.


CareerTech Conversations talks to new state director

CareerTech Conversations recently sat down with Oklahoma CareerTech’s new leader, State Director Brent Haken, to discuss CareerTech's impact on his life, the success of the system and his aspirations for Oklahomans' futures in career and technology education.

See the video on Oklahoma CareerTech’s YouTube channel.


CareerTech Champion: Valerie Dowis - High Plains Technology Center

There’s not much Valerie Dowis hasn’t done. A graduate of Fort Hays State University in Kansas, Dowis was a radiologic technologist for nine years, performing X-rays, CT scans, mammograms and fluoroscopic procedures.

The job market was tight in the area around her northwest Oklahoma home, so she decided to look into other career options. First, she drove a water truck in the oil field. Three years later, Dowis discovered High Plains Technology Center’s wind energy program.

Dowis enrolled at High Plains, where she learned about basic safety and electrical systems and how a turbine works. A job opportunity was waiting for her as soon as she completed the program, and she went to work as a wind tech with NextEra Energy Resources.

She quickly worked her way up in the company, accepting the site manager position when it became available, and was recently promoted to regional wind site manager.

“The training allowed me to get my foot in the door with NextEra, an opportunity I may not have had otherwise,” she said.

According to Dowis, her career has soared in the last five and a half years. She described every day as "an exciting day to go to work." 

"It never gets boring," Dowis said. "Because I love what I do, compensation isn't even the most important piece of my career. But it's a very nice perk." 

In addition to her work at NextEra, Dowis said she also saves money by using her skills at home, doing electrical work she would have had to hire someone to do. 

"High Plains Technology Center is where it all began," she said. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the need for wind turbine technicians will grow more than 50 percent by the end of this decade.


CKTC podcast talks about diesel service technology

Caddo Kiowa Technology Center’s TechTalk podcast talks with a student about the diesel service technology program.

Welding and metal fabrication student Tucker Freie from Anadarko High School talked with CKTC Student Services Director Staci Repp about his experiences. Freie is also a member of CKTC Leadership Academy.

Listen on CKTC’s YouTube channel or on Spotify.


Useful links

You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up. -- Chuck Yeager
Last Modified on Feb 13, 2023
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