Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

CEO of OKC-Based Francis Tuttle Techology Center Tom Friedemann: Allow Transferable Credits from CareerTech Centers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

CEO of OKC-Based Francis Tuttle Techology Center Tom Friedemann: Allow Transferable Credits from CareerTech Centers

Article excerpt

If lawmakers want to increase the number of Oklahoma residents with postgraduate credentials, they need to make sure that credit hours earned at CareerTech centers are transferable to community colleges and other state-run institutions, the CEO of one of the state's largest CareerTech centers said Thursday.

Speaking at a daylong meeting of the state Senate's Education Committee, Tom Friedemann, CEO and superintendent of Oklahoma City's Francis Tuttle Technology Center, said more students would take courses at a CareerTech center and then transfer to a community college or four-year school if their credits hours would apply.

"The number one reason the students don't take advantage of this opportunity is the credits are not transferable," Friedemann said. "When they tell us, 'I want to go to OSU,' we can't look them in the face and say these credits will apply. If we could get past this, I think you would see a lot more participation from CareerTech students."

For about a year, lawmakers - pushed by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin - have worked to increase the number of college graduates in Oklahoma. In October 2011, Fallin announced an initiative that aimed to increase the number of graduates from 30,500 to 50,900 annually by 2023.

Friedemann said he supported the goal, but urged lawmakers to include the CareerTech system in the initiative and called on them to push for more degrees in areas with a large job base.

"One of our fastest-growing markets is individuals who already have college degrees," he said. "The reason they come to us is they can't find the job they want; we're kind of a postgraduate school for people who already have a degree."

Too many students get degrees, he said, where jobs are scarce.

"I would contend that we don't need more degrees in areas where there are no jobs," Friedemann said. "We need students who can get a degree or a certificate in a field where there is a job waiting for them. We need more people with postsecondary credentials."

Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Director Phil Berkenbile, who recently announced his retirement, said CareerTech students pay only $8 per hour for college credits. …

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