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Empowering Passion-Driven Learning: Career Technical Education in Higher Education, with Sam Ramsey, Lemley Memorial Campus Director, Tulsa Tech, By: Zoe Mills

Career Technical Education (CTE) is a powerful mode of experiential learning that can provide students with the tools they need to pursue their passions and thrive in a competitive job market. For those unfamiliar, CTE combines academic coursework with hands-on training and industry-recognized certifications to prepare students for the careers they want to pursue. In this blog post, we will explore how higher educators can leverage CTE to help students pursue their passions. 

In this episode of Mindset in Motion, we’re joined by Sam Ramsey, Lemley Memorial Campus Director, Tulsa Tech, who explores how to leverage CET to support passion-driven learning and how doing so results in long-lasting positive learning outcomes. Some of the topics we explore in this podcast include: 

  • Aligning CTE with student interests, unique sense of life purpose, and career aspirations  
  • Offering a diverse range of CTE options to cater to a diverse range of student interests, hopes, and dreams 
  • The benefits of integrating traditional academic curricula with hands-on learning 
  • Facilitating real-world experiences through industry partnerships and collaboration 
  • Internships, co-op programs, and apprenticeships as essential components of CTE. These experiences enable students to apply their knowledge in real-world settings, gain industry-specific skills, and network with professionals who share their passions. 
  • Emphasizing the significant benefits of failure in lifelong learning and how it can accelerate growth by knowing what NOT to do 
  • CTE programs can foster career exploration and a growth mindset by emphasizing the importance of staying current in one’s field beyond years of study and through practice and continued curiosity – examples: workshops, industry conferences, online courses 
  • Higher educators should provide guidance and counseling services to help students navigate their options and make informed decisions – to recognize the uniqueness of the human-being that is the student 

A Few Notable Benefits of Integrating CTE to Enhance Passion-Driven Learning: 

  • Enhanced Employability: Students who complete CTE programs are better equipped with practical skills and industry-specific knowledge, making them more attractive to employers. 
  • Reduced Student Debt: CTE programs are often more affordable and shorter in duration than traditional degree programs, reducing the financial burden on students. 
  • Increased Graduation Rates: CTE programs can motivate students by offering tangible skills and career prospects, which can lead to higher graduation rates. 
  • Alignment with Labor Market Demands: CTE programs are responsive to industry needs, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for the job market. 
  • As higher education continues to evolve, integrating CTE into curricula is a strategic move towards nurturing passion-driven learning and equipping students for success.

Meet Sam

Sam Ramsey is the Lemley Memorial Campus Director for Tulsa Tech in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He directs instructional and operational activities on the Lemley Memorial Campus. Sam has worked in public education for 25 years. He graduated from the University of Tulsa with a bachelor’s degree in art education and began his career as a high school teacher for Union Public Schools where he taught multiple subjects such as ceramics, sculpture, computer networking, graphic design, and web design for nine years. After completing his master’s degree from Northeastern State University in school administration, he transitioned to Tulsa Tech as a career advisor for two years before moving into campus administration as an assistant director and then director for the past 13 years. He is pursuing his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in educational leadership. Sam dedicates himself to promoting career technical education as a way for high school and adult students to train for future careers and become a lifelong learner.


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