Monday, April 14, 2014

Local Mentoring Programs, OSDE Press Release

Local Mentoring Programs Benefit Students

Efforts Highlighted During National Volunteer Week

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 10, 2014) – This week marks National Volunteer Week, which honors the countless people across the nation who offer their time, skill and compassion to help others in need.
When it comes to volunteering to help children, one of the most effective ways to make a big impression is to mentor.
“A mentorship program can have a strong and immediate impact for a school. Especially for a struggling student, a mentor can truly be a positive role model and friend. It’s such a rewarding way to give back,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi.
Mentoring programs come in many varieties. One school that benefits from mentors is Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village in Oklahoma City.
For an hour each week, Stanley Hupfeld visits the elementary school that bears his name to hang out with a boy he mentors. Next year, Hupfeld wants to start teaching him chess, but, for now, they play checkers and talk about geography.
“I’ve often said it’s the best hour I spend all week,” said Hupfeld, former president and CEO of INTEGRIS Health.
Mentors started coming to the school more than a decade ago, back when it was still called Western Village Elementary. Today, it has more than 300 mentors. They are community members with all kinds of backgrounds. Some are older students, and about a third work for INTEGRIS. 
“Our goal is to have a mentor for every student in Stanley Hupfeld Academy,” said Academy director Tobi Campbell. 
Oklahoma has more than 100 mentoring and leadership programs, according to the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. The OFE helps establish mentoring programs in schools statewide through its David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative.
Mentors provide a stable source of support for students who might not get that at home. They can tutor kids who need academic help, or they can lend a sympathetic ear. By simply visiting with a child for an hour a week, mentors leave a lasting and positive impression.
Bernard Jones, who works with prosthetics at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center, is in his eighth year as a mentor at Stanley Hupfeld Academy. He admits he was skeptical when he first heard about the program, afraid it would amount to babysitting. 
It didn’t take long to change his mind.
“It’s something I look forward to every week. The kids look forward to seeing me every week,” Jones said.
The program at Stanley Hupfeld Academy is one branch of the Positive Directions mentoring program, which INTEGRIS operates in communities with its hospitals. Each mentor is matched to a single student whom he or she hopefully will stick with until that student graduates to the next school.
What to do with the weekly hour is up to mentors and mentees. Jones said the first 30 minutes of his sessions typically are devoted to study time, but he leaves at least 15 minutes to play games or talk. 
“As they get to know you, they get a little looser and start to share their life stories with you,” he said.
Mentoring programs in Oklahoma have been started at all levels of schools by a range of organizations, including colleges, churches, nonprofits and businesses. 
In Tulsa's Kendall-Whittier Elementary School, roughly 70 students stay until 6 p.m. every weekday to spend time with their mentors. The youth mentoring program was launched off-site by a neighborhood nonprofit in 2003. Several years ago, it became part of the University of Tulsa's True Blue Neighbors initiative and was moved into the school building with help from the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
"We've really seen tremendous growth in our ability to serve students and parents in this neighborhood," said director Danielle Hovenga.
Although the program is free, participants must apply to join. Every kid gets a healthy after-school snack, takes a break for playtime and spends an hour working on academics with a mentor. Half of that hour is spent on literacy, Hovenga said.
Mentors come from across the community and many are associated with the university, she said. Some faculty and staff volunteer, and students can use it as a work-study job or for academic credit in some classes. 
Being able to operate the mentoring program from inside the building has led to better coordination with teachers, and the school staff gets to see the mentoring program in action, Hovenga said.
Beverly Woodrome, director of the mentoring initiative at OFE, said there are too many kinds of successful mentoring initiatives around the state to suggest one model is better than others. In one town, a mentoring program was begun by a local banker who simply recognized a need. In bigger cities, large corporations sometimes hire staff solely to run their mentoring programs. 
There is one basic ingredient both Woodrome and Hupfeld cited; both the school and the mentoring organization need to be dedicated to the program and provide designated leaders on both ends.
Mentors range from top-level executives to school custodians. The more careers and backgrounds represented, the better, Woodrome said.
“I think sometimes we overlook people who could be inspirational,” she said.

Phil Bacharach
Director of Communications

Oklahoma State Department of Education

Tricia Pemberton
Assistant Director of Communications

Oklahoma State Department of Education

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Researching Jobs & Careers, Bureau of Labor Statistics

To make a living, one must have an occupation and training/education that will potentially support a family. 

Updating skills and changing jobs--even careers--are parts of reality and the future.  

Research before choosing, and take career aptitude tests.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics's Occupational Outlook Handbook is priceless. Note viewers can click on an occupation to see the profile.

Actually, the entire BLS site is useful.  Explore! Talk with your mentee.

Part of document, January 8, 2014

Part of document, published January 8, 2014

Part of document, published January 7, 2014

Ret. 4-4-14 for a presentation at the Oklahoma Department of Student Assistance's TRiO Strong Conference, April 10, 2014, in Oklahoma City.

Career - Construction Trades

The last in our Youth Career Day series...
  • Jimmy Fish, Executive Director, Oklahoma Building & Construction Trades Council   
  • William Bryles, President, AFSCME Local 2406, AFL-CIO  City, County & Municipal Workers of Oklahoma

Two routes to construction trades
(during or after graduation)
  • Career Technology Center
  • Apprenticeship Program

About fourteen different crafts are involved in the construction industry, e.g., electrician, carpenter, plumber, pipe fitter, bricklayer, insulator, iron worker, operating engineer, painter/decorator, sheet metal worker, and others.

Training is monitored and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.
In 1971, motivated by his friends' making more money than he would have if he had finished college, Fish began looking at the trades industry. 

An apprentice learn a trade while working in a three- to five-year program and pays no cost for this training. He or she can also attend school.

Becoming a journeyman, an endorsement with a higher level of skill, accomplishment and income, has requirements and certificates [testing] beyond completing apprenticeship training.

  • Prepare yourself in math and science. Algebra, for example, is important in electrical training. 
  • Be a high school graduate.
  • Don't waste your high school years.
  • Get your G.E.D., even if you are an adult.
  • Prove you can 
            -  Be punctual 
            -  Be responsible
            -  Handle class

Competition for Jobs
Limitations exist on the number of positions available, perhaps 50 to 15. What do you need to be employed? Three things
  • Interview
  • Grades
  • Practical experience


* At technology centers, students can earn college credit.
Did you know? 
Six cranes helped build the Devon Tower, and each crane had a highly trained operator. At peak, 1,500 people worked on that building. (Bryles)

A minority of high school students know where they want to go and in what to focus. Those who have not determined a direction can attend career tech or a two-year college until deciding. While pursuing training or education, a minimum wage job allows a degree of independence while building experience and connections.

An adult went to a career tech center for welding at a cost of about $1,000. Although he earned a position as one of the two top welders of his class, his having taken welding at career tech while in high school and/or appropriate preparatory classes in high school would have saved time and money.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Career - Graphic Designer & Fine Artist, Darryl Hillard

Another speaker at Youth Career Day...

Darryl Hillard attended Northeast Academy and graduated from Midwest City High School. Incidentally, in high school, he played varsity football and participated in art club and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), which fosters leadership and entrepreneurism for careers.

Overcoming Adversity
Hillard’s mother died during finals of his first year of college at Oklahoma State University. He had two younger brothers at home so he chose to be an example for them.

About college, he says to be proactive, i.e., to schedule and plan. Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship, Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), had a five-year limit. He had a good GPA in high school, but his ACT was not so good. College required effort.

Dealing with a Setback
His performance in the first three courses of his major showed he was not good enough to be a graphic designer. He changed into the studio art program, where a few years later, he became the best artist. Becoming a showcase artist boosted him so he focused upon becoming a professional artist.

In his senior year, a new graphic design professor on his own time gave Hillard private lessons. Even with his regular courses, work, and private lessons, Hillard graduated.

“It’s all about mindset,” he said.

Once he graduated, he looked where the money was and applied for work. He built a website to display his art.

His first job was in Yukon, which he still loves. He is now a full-fledged, full-service graphic designer, i.e., doing all that can be done with art, conventionally or digitally. Hillard also continues his passion for fine art.

Highly motivated, he has his own business, DH Art & Design, and serves as the marketing coordinator/graphic artist at Knutson Irrigation Design.

In Oklahoma City, a graphic designer may earn from 35,000-60,000 a year.

  • Love what you do.
  • Be proactive.
  • Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do it.
  • Be persistent. Never give up.

About Hillard and Designs/Art                                                                                               Ret. 4-11-14

[Having seen his work and having heard him speak, we hired Darryl Hillard to design our Magical Mentoring Tour graphic materials for OFE's Boren Mentoring Initiative.]

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Career - the U.S. Military Forces
The military can become a career or a step toward a career.

Through enlistment in the Navy, Marines, Air Force, Army, or Coast Guard, recruits will be trained in a number of career areas. The military pays for school. Life in the military can offer opportunities for world travel. 

Veterans have the G.I. Bill to pay for college tuition. Sometimes veterans have priority over civilians for certain jobs. Almost all employers value military discipline and training in an employee. 

Serving in the Reserves after resuming civilian life has benefits, too.For others, serving honorably in the military has been become a step to political life. 

Although the branches of the military have many positive opportunities and outcomes, military rules are not for everyone, and virtually everything has a military rule, e.g., how a soldier wears his or her hair, socks, uniform, and so on. Discipline is strict, and punishment can be more rigorous than in the outside world. Personal freedom is restricted, too. Long deployment separates families.  In a war zone, of course, death, dismemberment, and other impairment are real.

In his 2010 article below, Kingsbury says:
In fact, the modern military has a "tooth-to-tail" ratio of 1-to-10 or more. Those are the estimated numbers of frontline troops compared to logistics and other support personnel.
A person with a college degree, if otherwise qualified and fit, enters the military as an officer.

Enlistees must be eighteen years of age. Recruiters do look at the high school record of potential enlistees if that is the last or only academic record, e.g., an adult without postsecondary education or training. [What you do or don’t do in high school matters!]

Critical for placement, the ASVAB, a career exploration/aptitude test, is the key. [As mentioned in previous posts, take the practice tests.]

ASVAB or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, is a multiple-choice exam given by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command. It was first introduced in 1968 and is now the most widely-used standardized aptitude test in the world.
The test must be completed if you wish to serve in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard. The test can also be taken as a career-exploration tool if you are a high school sophomore, junior, or senior. It takes approximately three hours to complete. If you take the computerized version of the test, results are given immediately. If you complete a paper and pencil test, you'll get results within two weeks.
There are nine individual tests on the exam:
  • Electronics Information
  • Auto and Shop Information
  • Mechanical Comprehension
  • General Science
  • Arithmetic Reasoning
  • Word Knowledge
  • Paragraph Comprehension
  • Mathematics Knowledge
  • Assembling Objects (This section is only on the computer version and is not part of the paper and pencil test taken by high school students.)    Ret. 4-4-14     

ASVAB as Job Qualifier

Anecdotally, for the Navy, the highest ASVAB score will qualify a candidate for the nuclear program, which is second only to the Navy SEAL program. For example, a machinist mate on a submarine must have a higher ASVAB score in certain combined subtests than a machinist in any other part of the Navy.

Monthly Pay 2014

Always research career opportunities, job shadow if possible, and talk with people in the targeted professions. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Career - Truck Driver, Shawn Greshon

At STAAR Foundation's Career Youth Day, a highly replicable model, Shawn Greshon, a professional truck driver, shared his occupation and the opportunities therein, e.g., as a “transitional” job while continuing postsecondary education.

Greshon, who has driven two years for Pepsi, earned $48,000 last year. He does have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Since truck driving jobs “don’t require more than a high school education,” truck driving gives students “the opportunity to make a fair wage while going to school. Some trucking companies even offer college tuition assistance,” Greshon stated.  

Truck driving does involve a clean driving record, a written test, a driving test, a minimum age, certain physical qualifications, and often random drug testing. [Keeping your record clean matters regardless of career!]

U.S. Department of Transportation
Car haulers, the drivers of semi trucks hauling cars, can earn $100,000 a year here, but they must have more licenses, endorsements and training for many companies.

Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) driver training, which endorses higher knowledge of regulations and more responsibilities of drivers, may cost $5,000 at the driver’s expense. Coca Cola and Pepsi , for example, can train drivers for the CMV.

“Further education is necessary for those who haul fuel or hazardous wastes,” Greshon commented.

“Testing a driver’s knowledge base is key to safety,” he added.

Explore online to learn more. Talk to commercial truck drivers. So many different areas of driving exist, e.g., long haul or short haul; flatbed, tanker, refrigerated, auto and others; sizes by weight, and so on.

Trucking can also be a career, in which a driver rises to higher levels. It can also be the basis of a trucking company, e.g., Sapulpa’s John Christner Trucking (JCT), begun with only two trucks and the founder’s twenty years’ experience as an over the road driver. Starting, maintaining, and growing a business, however, requires much work and worry.

[General information below. Oklahoma may have other steps.]

How to Get a Truck License 

If you want to become a professional truck driver, you should get a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). The main requirement to get this type of license is to take written exams including general knowledge test, an air brakes test, and the combination vehicle test.

Many people like to take the optional endorsement tests for hazardous materials, tankers, and double and triple trailers, in the event of transporting dangerous products. If you are still a student, you have to travel with a CDL-licensed driver since permits only last six months.
The next step after having the permit is to learn how to drive a truck. There are specialized schools that may teach you how to maneuver the truck because you have to demonstrate in the tests that you are able to park, back, inspect the vehicle before driving it, and conduct an air brake test.

In order to pass all these tests, you should acquire a lot of information so that your knowledge goes beyond what is required.

The best recommendation is to attend classes in a school that offers a complete combination of interactive activities such as computer-based training, prepared instructors, and practices on CDL tests.

Remember that you are paying for receiving good preparation, so do not hesitate to ask as many questions as you can.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Career - Chef, Emily Walsh

At the STAAR Foundation's Career Youth Day, a highly replicable model, Emily Walsh, a professional chef and instructor, discussed her profession.

Chef Emily Walsh, the Culinary Institute of Platt College, Oklahoma City, has two specialties, culinary arts and pastry. Walsh runs the café/restaurant, Chefs Di Domani, and also trains pastry students. In both areas, mastery must include efficiency and large quantities.

Chef Walsh says the culinary industry always has jobs. People eat. The opportunities are diverse, e.g., cruise ships (24-7 food), hotels, casinos, restaurants, hospitals, clubs, catering companies, correctional institutions, education institutions, and others. “If you can work on a cruise ship or at a hotel, you can work anywhere,” she adds.  

"Salaries depend upon where you start and the job, e.g., $25,000 and up, varying from a mom and pop café to a casino or hotel," she added. [$57,591 average salary; in Oklahoma City, $50,340. Chef] 

As a chef, “you are in charge, making food, taking orders, and doing other tasks,” she explained.

Each program differs. The pastry program is ten months long whereas the culinary arts one is a year and a half.  Students can take classes during the day or at night while working. Platt College helps place students after graduation. Services include internships and resumes.

Jim Anderson food lab at OSU's College of Human Sciences

The differences between a chef and an executive chef include taking a test. 

Chefs have a hierarchy based upon accomplishment and 
expertise. A sous chef, for example, controls the kitchen and lines.

 An executive chef is the top chef or manager. Doing little or no cooking at that level, he or she may standardize the recipes, plan menus fitting a budget, manage a team of kitchen workers, train staff, maintain quality, and so on. Chefs work up to the executive chef position.

[“Aside from having exemplary culinary skills, executive chefs must have good communication skills, time management skills, leadership skills and basic accounting skills in order to run a kitchen successfully.”]  

One recurring point made during the career youth day presentations was that students of all ages can work full- or part-time while learning. 

Platt College                                                                             

OSU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration, et al. 

Culinary Schools in Oklahoma                                                           

Search online for other culinary or related schools or programs in other states.

Online quotes ret. 4-1-14