STILLWATER, Okla. (OBV) – The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, popularly known as Oklahoma CareerTech, and the Oklahoma State Department of Education are overhauling an online platform that connects students and adult job seekers to career training and apprenticeship opportunities.
Connect 2 Business (C2B) connects sixth through 12th grade students across the state and adults to businesses in their local areas that are seeking trainees and offering apprenticeships that can lead to promising careers.
The online platform has been used by about half the public school students across the state for the Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP) process. ICAP helps students engage in academic and career development activities so that they can thrive academically, professionally and personally, according to Oklahoma State Department of Education officials.
The OK Career Guide website hosts Connect 2 Business. C2B is not available currently on the website, but will be relaunched on Thursday, Feb. 15, debuting the platforms improved features.
“Don’t think of it as just job postings; that’s not necessarily what it’s for,” CareerTech Director Brent Haken said to Oklahoma Business Voice. “It is for a student experience. It may lead to a job, but it’s how we build work-based learning into education as a second nature for us.”
The overhauled C2B provides customized search experiences to the person looking for training and apprenticeship opportunities in their area particular.
“They can filter it by location and they can filter it by type of occupation to find out which opportunities are available in their area. And then if they need to travel to gain that access, they would be able to plan for that. So, it really should change the way that we think about workplace learning opportunities,” Haken said.
C2B can be accessed on PCs and mobile devices and eventually through an app that is being developed.
“Whether you’re an educator, whether you’re a business, whether you’re a student, anyone that has their account, they can put the [training and apprenticeship] opportunities on there. And then, likewise, the mobile app access, the way that anyone within that student’s family unit – if that’s the way that they’re set up for a minor – they would have access to the opportunity,” Haken said. “It’s very interactive. It’s focused on ‘How is this easy for somebody to use? how do we make sure that it’s a mobile device that’s finding connection wherever the student is?'”
Oklahoma students will benefit from the platform since the state requires them to complete at least one service learning or work environment activity before graduation.
Being able to customize searches to specific areas will especially be of benefit to students and individuals who live in rural communities where service-learning opportunities can be harder find, according to CareerTech officials.
The platform can also help public school teachers and CareerTech instructors find qualified local business leaders to speak to classes or student organizations about specific industries.
CareerTech and the Department of Education called upon Kuder, a private company, to implement C2B. Kuder works with school districts to “provide a configurable platform with research-based assessments, interactive tools, and outcome-driven data,” according to the Kuder website.
There are currently around 300 businesses lined up to post listings on C2B. CareerTech and Department of Education officials are working hard to get 1,000 businesses on the platform by the Feb. 15 launch date, Haken said..
“That’s kind of the phase that we’re in right now – business enrollment,” he said. “We’ve got a staff member dedicated to it, the State Department of Education’s got a staff member that’s dedicated to it, and they’re meeting with businesses and enrolling opportunities.”
Business leaders who are interested in placing training and apprenticeship opportunities on Connect 2 Business are asked to contact CareerTech official Brittany Crane by calling (405) 743-5105 or emailing email@example.com.