OKLAHOMA CITY – State Sen. Mary Boren, D-Norman, believes that Oklahoma’s economic recovery will be strengthened by the success of two state agencies: the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and the Oklahoma Physicians Manpower Training Commission (PMTC).
“Our state’s economy has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless we build on the strengths of our state agencies, our recovery could take longer than Oklahomans can wait. I’m especially proud of the recent success of our CareerTech system and the Physicians Manpower Training Commission, which are providing vital educational opportunities to strengthen our workforce while providing more health care workers to address our state’s health crisis.”
Boren pointed to OU senior, Jackson Cejda, as a prime example of Career Tech’s positive impact in the state and competitive advantage to attract new jobs. The University of Oklahoma engineering student went through the pre-Engineering program at Moore Norman Technology Center and Norman Public Schools. At Moore Norman, he learned project-based thinking abilities, critical problem-solving skills and interpersonal professional skills. Cejda completed an internship with Tesla in California and plans to graduate in 2021. He recently accepted a job as a software engineer, where he will help build and test Tesla’s next generation of vehicles.
“I’m so proud for Jackson’s family and know he will be a wonderful Oklahoma ambassador to Tesla as evidence of the strength of Norman Public Schools, Oklahoma’s career techs and the University of Oklahoma,” Boren said. “Although Oklahoma lost out to Austin in the most recent Tesla expansion, Oklahoma’s CareerTech training in automotive repair puts Oklahoma in a competitive advantage in future relationships with the car manufacturer.”
A Tesla gallery and repair center has recently opened in Tulsa, and another one is scheduled to open in Oklahoma City.
“To fully prepare Oklahoma’s automotive students for their future careers, I was eager to help organize a professional development training this month for automotive instructors throughout Oklahoma. During the training, we were able to learn from Tesla representatives, the Association of Oklahoma Central Government, and the Tesla Owners Club of Oklahoma. The training allowed instructors to ask important questions about the process of becoming trained as a certified Tesla automotive body repair and mechanic. The meeting created valuable connections between CareerTech and Tesla--an important first step towards utilizing our CareerTech system for our economic recovery.”
“Oklahoma’s CareerTech system gives Oklahoma a competitive edge and needs full funding to end the waiting lists for most programs. While serving on the Appropriations Subcommittee for Education, I became aware of the long waiting lists that prevent many interested and qualified students from participating in CareerTech. We need to eliminate these barriers to fully develop the minds and skills of our youth so they can pursue incredible job opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Boren said. “By increasing investment in the strength of Oklahoma’s CareerTech system, we can compete and keep high-tech jobs in Oklahoma.”
Boren also praised the Physicians Manpower Training Commission, which helps improve medical care in rural and underserved areas around the state by providing residency and student scholarship incentive programs to encourage health professionals to work in those areas. Boren said her husband would not have been able to afford medical school and
become a Board Certified Family Physician without assistance from the PMTC. He served in Choctaw and Little Axe to fulfill his rural Oklahoma commitment, and now helps care for students and faculty at OU’s Goddard Clinic, and has also been a frontline caregiver during the health pandemic.
“Oklahoma is facing a health crisis not only from citizens’ poor health, but a dangerous shortage of physicians and nurses in rural Oklahoma and other underserved areas. This crisis has never been more apparent than this year with the COVID-19 outbreak,” Boren said.
With financial assistance from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), PMTC successfully has placed 42 doctors through the physician loan repayment program in rural and underserved communities around the state.
“We should be encouraged that this commission is finding innovative ways through public/private partnerships with entities like TSET, community hospitals and insurance providers to help fill these critical positions and improve the health of all Oklahomans.”
Boren sits on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Education, which oversees the budgets for CareerTech and PMTC.
For more information contact: Sen. Boren: (405) 521-5553 or Mary.Boren@oksenate.gov