Great Plains Technology Center

Message from the Superintendent

Advisory Committees Help Great Plains Tech Adapt Training to Meet Workforce Needs

During the past 50-plus years, Great Plains Technology Center has had the good fortune to form meaningful partnerships with area businesses and industries. These partnerships helped us understand and respond our district’s training and staffing needs, which enables Great Plains Tech to adapt training and instruction and, if needed to change course offerings. 

I’m incredibly proud that what makes Great Plains Tech special includes four distinct features: 

  1. Our instructors are highly qualified with industry certifications and have real-world industry experience in their teaching field. 
  2. Through an industry-driven curriculum, our students train in real-world, hands-on settings, and our shops are equipped the same as found in today’s industries. 
  3. Students have the incredible opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications to meet today’s industry needs. 
  4. All of our career training programs have an advisory committee membership of around 300 volunteers who are seasoned professionals from each occupational area we teach. 

We hold advisory committee meetings each year. Our institutional advisory committee meeting, comprised of community and industry leaders, provides input to our leadership team. That meeting was held mid-March. We also host two program advisory committee meetings in the fall and our annual “all-school” advisory committee meeting we held earlier this week. 

The input from these community stakeholders is invaluable. There is no better expert than the person who works on the front lines of the industry every day and sees the changes happening in real time. They evaluate our programs, equipment, outcomes, success, and opportunities for improvement. As a former Great Plains Tech welding instructor, I relied on my advisory committee members to help me develop a curriculum that was current and relevant to the needs of Southwest Oklahoma and assist students with employment placement. 

During advisory committee meetings, the members talk, and we listen to what’s trending, what’s changing, what we need to teach now, and where we need to go in the future. They help us bring real-world relevance to the classroom. They bring keen insight into what is happening in current industries, skills required and certification requirements, and workplace expectations. They advise us, and we, in turn, pass on what we learn to improve the success of our students. We are indebted to their service to our school and our students. 

As we near the close of this school year, we are preparing for the next school year. In the 2024-2025 school year, we will introduce several new programs to answer the need for a trained workforce for Southwest Oklahoma.  

New to Great Plains Tech are aviation mechanics, industrial automation, accounting services, and construction trades. I am so excited about these new programs. Aviation mechanics will provide students with a broad and varied experience in aviation science and theory related to aircraft shop practice, maintenance, and repair. Industrial maintenance teaches the principles of industrial safety and electrical theory and training in programmable logic controller programming and troubleshooting. Accounting Services equips students with the fundamental principles of financial management, accounting and bookkeeping, Quickbooks, and payroll management. Construction trades encompass the construction fields of carpentry, masonry, and plumbing. 

I look forward to the insight these programs’ advisory committees will bring. The collaboration between Great Plains and the program advisory committees is one of the great sources of pride I feel as superintendent, in knowing what we teach is current and relevant to the needs of our local employers. Our advisory committees play a crucial role in helping Great Plains Tech bridge the gap between education and industry. 

Clarence Fortney, Superintendent
Great Plains Technology Center

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