Why Oklahoma Has More Jobs Than Qualified Workers

There aren’t enough qualified Oklahomans to keep up with the growth in jobs related to the aerospace, energy, and information technology industries.

At a committee meeting Thursday, lawmakers, education officials and agency officials discussed ways to fix the skills gap, which is expected to worsen. The biggest growth area in Oklahoma is in jobs that require post-high school education, but less than a four-year degree. Half of those jobs will require associate’s degrees or some sort of professional certification, The Oklahoman’s Silas Allen reports:

The state is expected to see more than 6,900 jobs created related to science and technology each year for the next 10 years, McKeever said. But only about 4,000 students graduate from state colleges and universities with degrees in those fields per year.

Manufacturers in Broken Arrow are trying to find skilled workers, and there’s unfilled jobs in trucking and big growth in wind turbine technicians.

Most of those who graduate with science and technology degrees in Oklahoma are from out-of-state or overseas, and those graduates tend to leave the state after they graduate.

Secretary of Science and Technology Stephen McKeever worries that Oklahoma’s economic growth could be hampered by the lack of qualified workers. Sen. Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater, agrees. A new aerospace manufacturer, ASCO, is opening a plant in Halligan’s district — a major win, “but only if it can supply workers qualified to fill them,” The Oklahoman reports:

“We have lots of jobs, but we don’t have people with the requisite skills to do those jobs,” Halligan said. “We need to do something to try to get our skills and the market matched together.”



source: http://stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma/2012/10/05/why-oklahoma-has-more-jobs-than-qualified-workers/ 

Northrop Grumman Foundation and National Math and Science Initiative Announce National STEM Education Program Results

In partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), the Northrop Grumman Foundation announced that three high schools that the foundation sponsored as part of the Initiative for Military Families have produced a combined 105 percent increase in qualifying scores on Advanced Placement (AP) math, science and English test scores in the first year of program sponsorship.

The initiative's mission is to provide consistent, high-level math and science education in high schools serving military bases in the United States. The program brings college-level math, science and English courses to students through the AP curriculum and provides continuity for students in that coursework when their families are transferred.

"It's encouraging that after such outstanding efforts put in by the students, teachers and administrators, we saw such strong results proving that all their time and dedication to this program has paid off," said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. "We know how important science and math are to our nation's future. Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation are committed to improving education through programs that support students and teachers, and improving science, technology, engineering and math curricula."

The Northrop Grumman Foundation funds three schools: Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Okla.; Eisenhower High School in Lawton, Okla.; and Howard High School, Macon, Ga. Enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year has seen a 128 percent increase since the program's inception.

"These results are phenomenal. They will open doors to college for these students. Many of them have parents who are serving our country and have had to make sacrifices themselves," said Gregg Fleisher, senior vice president of NMSI. "We are so grateful to the Northrop Grumman Foundation for supporting this program as it gives students here the skills they will need to succeed in a more complicated world."

source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/northrop-grumman-foundation-and-national-math-and-science-initiative-announce-national-stem-education-program-results-2012-10-02




Cloud9 Learning Launches New mLearning Management System
Oklahoma City, OK, August 16, 2012: Cloud9 Learning, LLC, an emerging leader in K 12 mobile learning innovations, announces the launch of its premiere product—a mLearning Management System (MMS) that adds the communication, collaboration, and accessibility features associated with mobile computing to the power of a conventional Learning Management System (LMS)—for major mobile tablet and smart phone platforms (iOS and Android). As schools implement Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, flipped classroom learning, web-based peer-to-peer collaboration, and other innovations using mobile devices, the need to unify and manage student work into a single application is critical.
In a controlled, secure network environment, Cloud9 Learning (C9) delivers and manages structured educational content, formative assessment, and student performance data. Since all activities are aligned to standards, C9 facilitates the transition to the Common Core Standards, as well as ensuring students receive assessment and instruction on state standards. The Cloud9 Learning MMS application’s architecture is open, allowing educators to select existing content or create their own with easy authoring capabilities. Through a partnership with the industry leader EdGate, teachers and administrators have access to proven, powerful content and tools that streamline the creation and consolidation of study materials, quizzes, and tests.
With all assignments, whether class-based or personalized, teachers build lesson plans and manage student activity. Lesson plans and assignments draw from a variety of resources: those currently licensed by the school (eBooks, online textbooks), free web or cloud-based curriculum and activities, and the comprehensive curriculum provided with the C9 application. Teachers can provide feedback, author content, and grade assignments, including essays, on their tablet or smart phone as well as their laptop. The chat feature allows teachers quick communication with students—especially useful for hybrid and online schools.
Students can set their folders and backpacks aside as they open the C9 app and swipe between their classes for a list of assignments and notifications. Just a tap launches students into the activity—whether a quiz, a video, an essay assignment, or a webpage—without leaving the application. An embedded calendar keeps students organized and focused. Because one of the most effective uses of mobile devices is peer-to-peer communication and collaboration, C9 automatically populates chat groups with students and teachers by class. Parents, guardians, and tutors are involved in their student’s learning with Observer logins—giving them access to assignments lists, notices, school-related notifications, and chat features.
“As we researched the potential of mLearning, we realized that education will soon expect, if not require, that all mobile devices have the same capabilities as computer-based personalized learning as well as immediate accessibility and instant communication features,” according to Jeffrey Butler, President and a Director of Cloud9 Learning. “As the mobile learning environment evolves, we designed C9 to be flexible to embrace the changes. Schools can invest confidently knowing that the application will not be outdated or limited over time.” C9 allows schools to organize their numerous resources into meaningful, standardized instructional material—improving teacher effectiveness, student performance, and communication among all those involved in student learning.
Cloud9 Learning is currently recruiting districts for pilots. For more information, watch the brief video at www.cloud9learning.com to see how Cloud9 Learning is helping schools fully utilize their mobile devices as powerful teaching and learning tools.


source: http://www.eschoolnews.com/2012/08/17/cloud9-learning-launches-new-mlearning-management-system/


Duncan Public Schools use Project Lead the Way


Because the Duncan Board of Education approved using Project Lead the Way, training for a career could start as young as middle school for Duncan students.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, the school board approved an agreement between Duncan Public Schools and Project Lead the Way Inc. to establish a comprehensive program and curricula for science, technology, engineer and mathematics (STEM) education.

“It’s the middle school version of what Red River Technology does with its pre-engineering and biomedical classes,” assistant Superintendent Glenda Cobb said.

The school district secured $12,000 from an outside source to pay for the materials needed to run the program. The $12,000 is a one-time expenditure, and the school will be able to reuse materials from year to year. The program will cost $2,000 annually to continue with the program.

Cobb said the STEM program will increase the rigor of the curriculum at the Duncan Middle School. She said DMS Principal Mike Toone and assistant Principal Carol Bowles were receptive to the program idea and are ready to establish the program at the middle school.

The school district learned about the program while district administrators were attending a state summit. While there, Superintendent Sherry Labyer and Cobb talked with administrators from the Tulsa area who had established the STEM curriculum in their classrooms.

Labyer said the discussion was enough to get the Duncan administrators excited about the program and led them to look into funding to add the program the Duncan Middle School.

In addition to becoming involved in the program, the school board also approved purchasing 30 Dell laptop computers and one charging cart to support the STEM curriculum.

The total cost of the laptops and the charging cart was $32,443.80 and was approved to be paid with Title I funds. Title I funds are federal funds.

source: http://duncanbanner.com/local/x1710453941/DMS-to-use-STEM-education

Secretary of Science and Technology says science, math key to Oklahoma's success

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma’s economic future could be closely tied to the success of science and technology in the state, but that success will require financial and human investment.

“If you look back through history … since the Industrial Revolution, you’ll find that science and technology have been at the growth of that economic development, the growth of our quality of life,” said Stephen McKeever, the Oklahoma State University vice president for research and technology transfer and the state’s third Secretary of Science and Technology. “If we are to continue that growth we need to continue investing in science and technology.”

McKeever spoke Friday about the importance of encouraging high-tech development on the final day of OSU’s ninth annual Research Week.

Appointed in 2011 by Gov. Mary Fallin as the Secretary of Science and Technology, McKeever also talked about his work this past year developing a comprehensive plan for science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — in Oklahoma.

Early in the process, he asked the state’s Department of Commerce how many graduates the state would need in STEM fields to meet the demand of recent growth in technology fields.

The Department of Commerce, McKeever said, estimated the state needs an average of 6,500 graduates annually. However, the State Board of Regents estimates Oklahoma universities graduate little more than 4,000, which doesn’t include out-of-state or international students who are likely to return home to find work.

“I would guess we’re producing about half of what we need,” McKeever said.

Two more statistics illustrate just what kind of economic impact STEM careers could have on the state. The average wage per capita in Oklahoma is $35,800, which is less than half of the $75,000 average salary of a STEM job.

“Those two numbers alone tell you why we need these kind of jobs in Oklahoma,” he said.

McKeever is working with a committee, which includes a handful of academics, technology industry representatives and members of other science organizations, to develop a number of recommendations the governor will review and possibly adopt.

Those recommendations include ideas on how to best commercialize research being conducted at the state’s universities, how to best invest in companies and how to rethink Oklahoma’s science K-12 education.

Research and development is a big need for the state, according to McKeever. In the latest report from the Milken Institute, which ranks each state in a variety of math and science areas, Oklahoma ranks last in research and development funding for science and technology.

“That’s kind of disturbing,” McKeever said.

However, Oklahoma does have the potential to make gains in agricultural science, aerospace and energy — including oil, natural gas, wind and biofuels. McKeever pointed to aerospace research around the state, particularly in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles.

“I’m pleased to say that Oklahoma is in a terrific position to be in the vanguard of that activity,” he said. “We really do have a nucleus of expertise throughout the state.”

If the state is to improve its success in STEM fields, McKeever said, Oklahoma will have to find ways to invest in and improve STEM education at the K-12 level. His group is working on recommendations to do that, but he said some of them could be controversial.

“In China for example, they identify the top third graduates from universities in science and technology areas and earmark them for teachers,” McKeever said. “Not all of them do become teachers, but that’s the group they look at.”

In Oklahoma and the U.S., top graduates usually won’t consider teaching because of the low pay, he added. One of the recommendations includes a sign-on bonus for STEM graduates going into teaching. Another includes looking at creating a career path for K-12 teachers, similar to the one at universities that has assistant professors, professors and tenured professors.

“I don’t know of any other industry, if I can call it an industry, that has no professional development career ladder,” McKeever said.

That lack of a career ladder, he added, causes more ambitious teachers to leave the classroom and pursue administration. Another problem, McKeever said, is there are often few hands-on experiment opportunities in the classroom, which is often the part that excites students about pursuing a STEM career.

He compared it to a football program that spends its entire time studying Xs-and-Os but without playing a game because the school couldn’t afford a field.

“And yet … that’s exactly what we do with science,” McKeever said. “There are so many of our high schools that don’t have the wherewithal to teach science in a lab.”

The goal of the plan, he said, isn’t to implement everything overnight. McKeever said many of the recommendations involve making financial investments, which the city might not be able to make right now.

“The goal is to start the conversation so that a few years from now when the state is hopefully in a position when it can start to invest then hopefully they will agree what they need to be invest in,” he said.


source: http://www.stwnewspress.com/local/x952193591/Secretary-of-Science-and-Technology-says-science-math-key-to-Oklahomas-success