For many years, the City of Edmond has been known and recognized for its outstanding education. Most people immediately think of traditional K-12 classrooms at Edmond Public Schools or higher education at the University of Central Oklahoma. Still, there is another irreplaceable source of learning and economic development for our community: Career and Technical Education.
Governor Kevin Stitt recently designated February as Career and Technical Education Appreciation Month in Oklahoma. What better time to celebrate the impact CareerTech has made in Edmond and the opportunities it continues to create for our students?
Throughout Oklahoma in 2020 alone, more than 300,000 students enrolled in CareerTech programs across 58 campuses. Beyond the educational impact, more than 7,000 industries were served by business and industry training, over 18,000 industry-endorsed certificates were earned, and 1,767 new jobs were created with training from CareerTech.
In our community, Edmond Public Schools (EPS) offers one of the most robust CareerTech programs in the region, serving students for several decades. Some of the high school programs available include Marketing, Agriculture, Family and Consumer Science, and Business and Information Technology.
EPS also partners directly with Francis Tuttle, the largest source of Career and Technical Education in Edmond, serving 18,000-20,000 OKC-area high school and adult students at any time. The Francis Tuttle system includes the Business Innovation Center off Covell, the nearly complete Danforth location, and three campuses just outside Edmond city limits.
The Business Innovation Center opened in 2013 to provide industry-focused services, including the LaunchPad FT business incubator, customized training services, career development courses, and the Center for Municipal Excellence, which administers training for municipal employees across the state. With these services and an upcoming pre-incubator small business program, Francis Tuttle addresses virtually every stage of business development and operation, all in one spot for business owners.
Opening Fall 2021, the new 155,000 square-foot Danforth Campus will significantly expand CareerTech opportunities in Edmond. The campus’s focus is entrepreneurship, and it will include the Entrepreneurship Academy, a new program centered around preparing for college, developing business ideas, and providing skills for future jobs.
High schoolers will have access to additional education tracks like Engineering, Computer Science and Bioscience and Medicines. Adult learners can enroll in Pre-Nursing, Cosmetology, Automotive Service Technology, and Interactive Media programs.
The mission of the Danforth Campus is to facilitate creative thinking, collaboration, and problem solving. Beyond their career path programs, the location will also include a Design Thinking Studio and Product Realization Lab for both students and the larger community to brainstorm, test, and present their business ideas.
Since 1981, Francis Tuttle and the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce have partnered to serve the community. The school’s Superintendent and CEO, Michelle Keylon, currently sits on the Chamber’s Board of Directors and provides a unique education perspective within the Government Relations Council. Francis Tuttle is the founding sponsor of the Chamber’s New Teacher Reception and presenting sponsor for Youth Leadership Edmond, creating even more learning and involvement opportunities for students in our area.
The Edmond Chamber looks forward to seeing the impact Francis Tuttle and the entire CareerTech system will have on our city for many years to come. The new Danforth Campus is the epicenter of major growth and a testament to the significance of Career and Technical Education for both individual students and the community as a whole.
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About Sherry Jordan
Sherry Jordan is the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Edmond Chamber of Commerce. Sherry was promoted to this position in September 2016 and has served in several roles during her 15 years at the Edmond Chamber. Sherry has been the leader for the Chamber’s accreditation process in 2005, 2010 and 2015 which culminated in a 5-star rating. While there are over 8,000 chambers in the US, the Edmond Chamber is one of only 105 chambers to achieve this rating.
Sherry and her husband Brad have been married for 30 years and are parents to two daughters. Taylor is a teacher in Edmond Public Schools and Bailey is currently in medical school at the University of Oklahoma.