Tech Now students to show off skills at state competition
MOORE — Students from across Oklahoma will gather April 27 at Southmoore High School to test their talents in the Tech-Now State Competition.
The competition, which will be held from 9:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Moore school, is held annually to showcase the technology, and employment skills of Oklahoma high school students.
Tech Now is an entrepreneurship course that develops career skills, offering youth the opportunity to use design software and build computer and related technology skills aimed at creating physical products that can be sold. The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services partners with Tech Now to help high school age youth with disabilities prepare to enter the workforce and to lead independent lives.
Tech-Now President Rick DeRennaux said the first products are basic design works including career posters and dropout prevention posters.
“As the students’ skills progress the required products for the competition increase in complexity, and the amount of time required to finish a given product also increases,” he said. “The most challenging elements of the competition are introduced in the second semester of the school year, and sometimes require the students to form small student ‘companies.’”
These company members must work together to conceive, develop, market, and in some cases, sell the finished product.
Lawton’s Eisenhower High School is home to The Eagle Express Print Shop, which is an extension of Tech Now. The shop has a 3D printer, two button makers, a T-shirt press, a color printer, a poster size printer, a Cricut maker and a document binding machine. The students work in the print shop to fill orders as well as develop EHS’ Eagle Pride product line. The students are exposed to cost analyses of products so they can come up with cost effective prices for the products. The students have generated over $750 in sales, which is deposited into the Tech Now account and used to replenish supplies.
The students and their products compete at the Tech Now State Competition where they are scored, and the students receive awards based on how they place.
DeRennaux said students can receive cash, software, donated products and trophies.
“We have some great organizations and companies that supply numerous awards and door prizes,” he said. “Some very lucky Tech-Now students can even win a laptop and software bundle just for attending the competition.”
One of the high points of the competition is the HT car races where students race cars they have designed and built.
“The HT Racer activity is one of the team activities the students can submit and is a great way for students to gain some extremely important pre-employment skills and work experience,” DeRennaux said. “The activity requires two to four students to form a race company, develop company policies, assign different duties based on the team members skills and enter the race ready product on race day. The entire process is a skill building opportunity that will help students secure and be successful on those first jobs.”
DRS served 82,533 Oklahomans with disabilities in 2021 with career preparation, employment, residential and outreach education, independent living programs and the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits. The agency assists job seekers with disabilities overcome barriers to employment and assists Oklahoma employers to find qualified, job-ready employees who become taxpayers. For more information, visit www.okdrs.gov or phone 800-845-8476.
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Brett Jones, DRS Communications Officer