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October 27, 2012

Technology centers can change to meet needs

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s technology centers are an often overlooked part of the state’s educational offerings. High school students learn valuable skills that will carry them directly into the work force or college studies. Industries rely on career techs for training and retraining their work force.

The opening of the Moore Norman Technology Center’s Information Technology Center Building this past week reminds us of the changing dynamics of today’s work force. Technology centers quickly adapt to the needs of today’s business.

Inside the $17 million structure on the Franklin Road campus are disciplines with common roots: They include computer programming, database services, digital video production, graphic design, legal office services, networking and computer repair, pre-engineering, web design and development. The open concept allows for better collaboration among students.

One staff member said it was like “Disneyland” and that students usually text “OMG” when they enter the building. At Thursday’s ribbon cutting, programming students demonstrated games and software they created, a far cry from the welding and carpentry classes in early vo-tech schools.

Superintendent Jane Bowen told the audience career tech doesn’t have an attendance problem. Students want to come to class. Indeed, many programs at MNTC have waiting lists.

The new IT building, like the South Penn Campus that opened in Oklahoma City in 2005, is a good example of technology centers changing to meet the needs of today’s economy.

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