Oklahoma’s CareerTech System
Ponca City Now - June 21, 2023 6:34 am
Oklahoma Representative John Talley-District 33.
By Rep. John Talley
This week, I want to highlight a part of Oklahoma’s amazing vocational education system (modernly referred to as CareerTech)—Oklahoma Technology Centers.
Since 1966, technology centers have played a vital role in economic development by facilitating the training of employees for new and existing businesses and creating workforce solutions through customized training programs and industry partnerships, which contributes to the growth and success of both businesses and individuals within the community.
Today, technology centers operate 60 campuses across the state and had 446,940 enrollments in Fiscal Year 2022.
House District 33 is blessed to be located near several of these centers, including the Meridian Technology Center with locations in Stillwater and Guthrie.
I am currently taking a class at the Stillwater location to learn about the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations. The Main Campus offers full-time career training programs, personal and professional development short courses and workforce and economic development.
I got to tour the new Guthrie location, called the South Campus, earlier this year, and they began offering classes in March of 2022. They provide short-term courses and host larger groups and conferences. They also offer a business incubator called The Peak, which focuses on aiding and advising local start-up companies.
Additionally, the South Campus has partnered with the City of Guthrie to start the First Capital Film Crew Institute to provide introductory courses for those interested in working in the growing film industry.
Central Tech, located in Drumright, offers nearly 30 full-time programs and various short-term classes, many of which are offered in partnership with businesses in high-demand fields.
They’ve collaborated with leading aviation companies to establish a comprehensive aviation maintenance technician program, which provides students with the skills required for high-demand careers in Oklahoma’s second-largest industry.
Additionally, Central Tech partnered with trucking company Freymiller to launch the Second Chance Program. This initiative addresses the educational needs of justice-involved individuals, offering them an opportunity to build successful lives after incarceration.
By training incarcerated individuals in truck driving through the Central Tech program, the Second Chance Program aims to break the cycle of recidivism and provide an untapped pool of drivers to address the national shortage.
When the new refinery is built in Cushing, I hope to connect them with leaders from Central Tech to provide tailored training programs for their employees.
Technology centers are primarily funded through ad valorem taxes, which are dedicated to them through a vote of the people in their districts. Meridian receives $9.8 million through property taxes, which makes up 71.6% of their total funding. Central Tech receives $13.8 million for 71.2% of their total funding. State funding accounts for less than a quarter of their annual budget, and they both receive a small portion of federal funding as well.
I hope you will consider taking a short-term course at a CareerTech location near you or encourage a high school student to consider one of their opportunities for a career! You can check out their offerings at centraltech.edu and meridiantech.edu.
Before I wrap up my column this week, I want to remind 100% disabled veterans to register with the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) by July 1 to receive your new tax exempt card.
First, enroll in the Oklahoma Veterans Registry at registry.odva.ok.gov/registration. Second, complete the State Benefits Request, found at oklahoma.gov/veterans/benefits. Third, when you receive your letter, submit it to the State Tax Assessor’s Office to receive your replacement card.
Instead of using a computer, you can call one of offices below for assistance or information about a location near you that accepts walk-ins:
- Central ODVA Office: 405-523-4000
- Muskogee ODVA Office: 918-781-7766
More information is available at Oklahoma.gov/veterans.
As always, please call my office at (405) 557-7304 or email me at [email protected] if you have any questions. Thank you for the honor of representing our district!
Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.