Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 1, 2014

ICTC: Upsurge reported in trades

Next semester’s class will be doubled in size

TAHLEQUAH — Indian Capital Technology Center’s Tahlequah campus plans to nearly double the size of its incoming class of high school students this August, in comparison to last year’s class.

Robin Roberts, director of the Tahlequah site, credits the increase to students’ becoming “more and more aware of the options.” He also said about 80 percent of the high school students who attend ICTC will go on to higher education after graduation.

Tahlequah’s ICTC will be launching its new Criminal Justice program for juniors and seniors this August. Students will be able to use a dilapidated house currently being revamped.

The house was originally going to be demolished after ICTC purchased the land on which the property is situated, but the criminal justice instructor said it would be perfect for training.

Students will use the house to practice investigations, drills and even night operations, since the windows are being replaced with heavy shutters to black out the inside during the day while class is in session.

The most popular ICTC programs for juniors and seniors are the health careers certification and welding. Also garnering interest among high school students is the heavy equipment program.

Roberts credits the uptick in interest with presentations given by heavy equipment students to visiting sophomores. The classes train students mostly in using construction equipment, but they also take truck driver training – something the Board of Career and Technology Education is trying to increase across the state.

According to a CNHI news service report, a shortage of truck drivers and oil field workers prompted the state Board of Career and Technology Education to set aside nearly $1.1 million for truck driver training and $228,000 for oilfield training.

The increase in funds for these training areas did not affect the overall funding to CareerTech, though it will be taking over adult general education programs and the monies allocated to those programs.

Roberts said the Tahlequah Career Tech location is currently “growing” its Adult Career Development under a new coordinator after filling the vacancy left by a retirement.

While this will increase CareerTech training across the state, Tony Pivec, district superintendent, said those funds will not directly affect any of the CareerTech training sites in the area.

“It may have an indirect effect,” said Pivec.

ICTC is in talks with the Central Tech Center to bring specific truck driver training classes its Sallisaw, Muskogee and Tahlequah locations. The funding for oil field training will not affect ICTC directly or indirectly, as most oil field training is in the western region of the state.

The Tahlequah site is one of the district CareerTech centers looking to add a short-term truck-driving course for the general public. But Roberts said it is a minimum of six months away, as officials research the need for truck drivers from local industries and the interest among community members in receiving the training.

“We do have some duplicate programs, but we try to focus on the needs in our area,” said Pivec.

One way ICTC is doing this is acquiring a training facility inside of a trailer using a lottery grant, which could potentially be used for truck driver training, as well as any other on-site training for local businesses.

“We’ll be able to serve them at their locations,” said Pivec. “Hopefully we’ll be able to better serve businesses and industries in our area.”

svanwyk@tahlequahdailypress.com

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