Increased demand for flexible career & technical training fuels partnerships
Tulsa Tech offers career and technical training to a growing number of students throughout the metro area at several partner school district sites. Enrollment has grown to nearly 1,000 students in schools throughout Tulsa County in programs such as pre-Engineering, web design, manufacturing and more.
Dr. Steve Tiger, Tulsa Tech Superintendent and CEO, recognizes that many students want to train for the career of their future but struggle with scheduling for numerous reasons.
“With the many demands placed upon our partner schools, we’ve worked in tandem to expand career training in the high school setting,” Tiger said.
“Accommodating busy schedules and eliminating travel time is now a necessary level of convenience for some of our students that participate in extra-curricular activities, or have expanded class loads.”
The off-campus programs in area high schools increased last year, with five more sites adding career training programs. The additions to the off-campus programs included Foundations of App Development at Catoosa High School, Foundations of Engineering at both Collinsville High School and Skiatook High School, along with Foundations of Manufacturing at Charles Page High School and East Central High School.
The off-campus career training programs in area high schools will again expand for the 2018-19 school year, with Pre-Engineering available at Broken Arrow High school, Apparel Design at Union High School, Interior Design at Charles Page High School, and Introduction to Manufacturing, soon to be offered at Glenpool High School.
The recently announced manufacturing program in is the result of a unique partnership between AAON, Inc., Glenpool High School, and Tulsa Tech. AAON has pledged a $100,000 donation toward the construction of the classroom and lab, as well as a commitment to 50% of the operational costs for the next five years. This particular type of corporate partnership is a first in the history of Tulsa Tech, and is groundbreaking for Oklahoma’s CareerTech system.
The business community in the Tulsa Metro area is experiencing a skills gap regarding their current and future workforce, and this groundbreaking partnership is a tremendous example of education and business cooperating in a meaningful way to improve the situation.
The Foundations of Manufacturing program will be embedded into Glenpool High School and will serve as an elective class, offering students the opportunity to learn the many different aspects of the manufacturing process, including automated design and machining, robotics, blueprints, welding and more. Students will then have the opportunity to progress to full-time career training programs at Tulsa Tech, including HVAC, welding, machining, drafting, mechatronics and more.
“We are excited to build upon the wonderful relationship that we have with Tulsa Tech, as well as other educational partners like Glenpool Public Schools,” said Norman Asbjornson, AAON CEO. “Manufacturing across the country has a growing skills gap, and this is an opportunity to expand the talent pipeline for our business in a tangible way.”
AAON has nearly 1,700 employees locally, with another 350 employees between its Longview, Texas and Parkville, Missouri facilities. The company operates a 1.37 million sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Tulsa and will be opening a 134,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art research and development lab in Fall 2018.
“Glenpool is thrilled to offer this type of career training to introduce students to another pathway for a successful future,” said Kim Coody, Principal at Glenpool High School. “Offering a flexible elective through Tulsa Tech is a great way for students to see successful career choices that can be accomplished after graduation.”
Dr. Scott Williams, Tulsa Tech’s Associate Superintendent for Instruction believes developing foundational knowledge and skills on a technical level, in a format that is convenient for secondary students, is essential.
“Embedding Tulsa Tech programs in the high school allows us to be a good partner with our sending schools,” Scott said. “It enables us to provide a level of education which gives students more opportunities to enter a career training program of their choice.”
In the past 50 years, Tulsa Tech has grown from a single campus vocational school under the guidance of Tulsa Public Schools, to an independent school district with six campuses and 17 off-campus programs which offer career tech training programs that help students prepare for both career and college skills.
Today, Tulsa Tech is the largest technology center of Oklahoma’s nationally-recognized CareerTech system, training over 5,000 full-time adult and high school students, as well as nearly 10,000 part-time enrollments, and even thousands more employees involved in customized corporate training and consulting services.