By Chris Eversole, staff writer
Health careers training is Canadian Valley Technology Center’s fastest growing program, and it’s responding by building a 64,000-square-foot addition to its Dr. Earl Cowan Campus.
The addition will more than double the size of the campus, which is now houses in a 54,000-square-foot building at the corner of Czech Hall Road and S.W. 15th Street.
When the new building opens, CV Tech will teach all of its health careers classes there, said Superintendent Gayla Lutts.
The campus is close to Integris Canadian Valley Hospital, which is a major location for students to gain clinical experience, Lutts said.
CV Tech decided on the Cowan campus as a central health careers center after Grady Memorial Hospital in Chickasha closed its surgery unit, which had fallen below federal standards, three years ago, she said. (Grady Memorial has since reopened the surgery unit.)
Many of the health career classes were taught in Chickasha, but CV Tech realized it couldn’t rely on Grady Memorial for clinical experience.
“We responded to a necessity, and we are working to meet the needs of the community,” Lutts said.
CV Tech attracts students from throughout central Oklahoma to its health career programs, which include training in licensed practical nursing, nursing aide, medical assistant and medical billing.
It is collaborating with operators of the Dean McGee Eye Institute in developing training for technicians in fields such as eye care, dental assisting, surgical technology and monitor technology.
The Cowan Campus construction includes a storm shelter in the new seminar center.
Moving health career programs that are at the El Reno campus to the Cowan Campus will free up space in El Reno, Lutts said.
In El Reno, CV Tech offers training in 24 fields, including accounting and business, auto collision, automotive technician, aviation maintenance, computer-aided design, IT and cosmetology.
Q and A with CV Tech Superintendent Gayla Lutts
How you’re responding to the workplace?
Each of our programs has an advisory group that keeps our instructors informed of changes in each industry and equipment students need to be prepared to use. The feedback is extremely valuable to us.
In addition to expanding the Dr. Earl Cowan campus and dedicating it to health education, we will expand the number of health programs in the future.
How much has enrollment in health education increased?
Our high school Health Careers Program has gone from three teachers to five teachers over the last five years.
Enrollment has increased from 106 total students in 2014-15 to 137 in 2018-19.
Health Careers received 135 new applications for the 2018-19 school year. We only had space to accept 86 of the applicants.
What are the career options for students?
All students in Health Careers, which is a high school program, get their nurse aide (CNA) certification in their first year of enrollment. They can choose to specialize in a certain area during their second year.
Our high school Biomedical Sciences program is a STEM Academy that prepares students for college level coursework in the medical field.
This program offers pre-AP and AP math and science courses as well as project-based curriculum.
The Biomedical Sciences program is growing, and is in its first year of enrollment of sophomore students. Before, it was only available to juniors and seniors.
Once Cowan construction is complete, the campus will also house our Practical Nursing program, which is now at our El Reno Campus.
This is an adult-only program. It has a nine-month waitlist.
How has demand increased?
The increased demand is in line with increased enrollments at our partner high schools in this area.
It’s no secret that Canadian County has been the fastest growing county in Oklahoma for several consecutive years, according to Census Bureau data.
Since 2010, the county has grown by more than 21 percent.
Mustang High School’s enrollment is now fourth largest in the state, and Yukon’s is eighth.
What is the earning potential of graduates?
LPNs make an average of $16 to $18 per hour if they take jobs in our district area.
Many of our students use these jobs as a means to an end.
They fully intend to work while also going to nursing school in pursuit of an RN or BSN degree.
Medical assistants (CMAs) earn between $12 and $15 per hour.
Authorized unlicensed assistants make about $14 per hour, more on weekends and nights. Students who become certified nursing assistants make an average of between $11 and $13 per hour starting wages.