Spring is the time for recitals, graduations, tournaments and competitive events where students show off new skills, reap rewards of hard work and continue to learn, lead and succeed. In that spirit, Feb. 28 marks the first of seven Oklahoma CareerTech student organization spring conferences. More than 35,000 students put competencies learned throughout the year to the test at the state level, with state winners proceeding to the national level.
Annually, each organization hosts a state spring leadership and skills conference for students to compete in events, elect state officers and gain leadership training and networking opportunities.
"These activities are extremely beneficial to the students because they are part of the curriculum," said Phil Berkenbile, Oklahoma CareerTech director. "Students receive career exploration, clinical, internships, on-the-job training and leadership opportunities, education and training for marketable job skills and college preparation."
Business and industry leaders are a vital part of state conferences. Professionals often serve as judges or sponsors for competitive events, as they preview their future workforce.
More than half of all Oklahoma high school students ? 89,036 ? and nearly 36,000 in Grades 6-8 are enrolled in CareerTech courses. Some 71,000 middle school through senior high school students and adults are members of Oklahoma CareerTech?s seven student organizations. Each organization is an integral part of the CareerTech system supporting related programs found at 556 schools and 57 technology center campuses across the state.
"Students who are CareerTech graduates are better prepared for future employment," Berkenbile said. ?They earn industry-valued skills, credits for high school graduation and Oklahoma’s Promise, college credit and industry certifications and seem to transition more smoothly from school to career because of the experiences provided through CareerTech training."
Oklahoma CareerTech student organization 2011 spring conference schedule includes:
• Business Professionals of America State Leadership Conference will host students at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee and the Oral Roberts University Mabee Center in Tulsa on March 8-9. BPA is the organization affiliated with Business and Information Technology Education.
• DECA, the organization supporting Marketing Education, hosts its 68th Annual Career Development Conference on Feb. 28 at Tulsa Southern Hills Marriott.
• Family and Consumer Sciences Education students involved in the student organization Family, Career and Community Leaders of America will attend spring conference at Oklahoma City Cox Convention Center April 15 for the 65th state FCCLA convention..
• FFA, the student organization for Agricultural Education, will host the 85th State Convention at the Cox Convention Center on May 3-4 in Oklahoma City.
• Health Careers Education students who are members of HOSA will participate in events at the HOSA State Leadership Conference on April 13-15 at the Clarion Meridian Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
• SkillsUSA will hold its 46th Annual State Leadership and Skills Championship at the Tulsa Convention Center on May 1-3.
• Technology Engineering students who are members of Technology Student Association will compete in events at the state conference at the Payne County Expo in Stillwater on April 26-28.