Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell says Career Tech is a vital part of the state’s future.
Pinnell made the comments during a visit with Kiamichi Technology Center McAlester Campus Director Raymond Wilson, when the lieutenant governor visited KTC’s McAlester Campus.
Wilson said local companies, agencies such as WorkForce Development and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, as well as the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, have utilized KTC’s McAlester Campus for training programs. Those are in addition to regular classes at KTC.
“We all work together,” Wilson said. “We’re not in competition.”
Pinnell said he came to McAlester on Friday for three different reasons. Those included meeting with the Chamber of Commerce along with local economic development leaders and Workforce Development, serving as keynote speaker at the McAlester Regional Health Center’s residency graduation ceremonies and meeting with Wilson at KTC.
“I’m a longtime supporter of Career Tech,” Pinnell said. He said Oklahoma’s Career Tech system is already in the top 10 nationwide.
“Obviously we need Career Tech, in addition to college,” said Pinnell.
Pinnell said his office has a video series featuring youth speaking about Career Tech. He didn’t get to speak to any KTC students during his trip to the McAlester Campus, since students are off on Fridays during the summer break.
He said Career Tech can continue to play a major role in the state. Pinnell and Wilson discussed KTC’s nursing program as an example.
Wilson said KTC is also looking at offering more training on medical insurance coding. That’s a process where individuals use coding and medical terminology to convert medical records into insurance paperwork to determine how much patients and/or doctors are reimbursed by insurance companies for health care.
“That’s a big thing,” Wilson noted. “That’s something we’re ramping up.” Wilson added that KTC is blessed to have excellent teachers on the staff.
Pinnell said he’s looking to the future, where aerospace-related industries are already the #2 industry in Oklahoma, with what he termed some “very innovative aerospace companies.”
All of that leads to opportunities for the future, Pinnell said.
“We can leapfrog other states,” he said. “I think in the next 10 years, we will have people leaving Texas to come to Oklahoma.” Pinnell contended the cost of living is more affordable and he said the Oklahoma can make sure the quality of life is better. Pinnell said the state’s labor force is a key to continued success.
“We have to make sure we have workers, and Career Tech is a big part of that,” said Pinnell.
Kiamichi Technology Centers across Southeastern Oklahoma has 24,907 enrollments systemwide, according to its 2021-2022 Annual Report to Stakeholders. That includes 2,089 full-time students along with 22,818 short-term students, with a 90% positive placement rate.
KTC’s McAlester Campus offers 14 full-time programs, along with four short term classes. Enrollment is open to anyone, with financial assistance available to qualifying students. Anyone needing more information can contact KTC’s McAlester Campus at 918 426-0940.
Pinnell said he wants new businesses to come to McAlester, while helping take care of the ones that are already here.
“My vision and plan is to help grow rural Oklahoma again,” he said.
Contact James Beaty at firstname.lastname@example.org.