ARDMORE, Okla. (KTEN) — State Superintendent of Public Schools Ryan Walters made a stop at SouthernTech in Ardmore Wednesday to speak with local and state representatives about the growth of vocational education in Carter County.

SouthernTech Superintendent Dr. Eric Ward briefed Walters on the school's curriculum, student goals and connections with regional higher education partners like Murray State College in Tishomingo and Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant.

"It was good to have discussion about making sure that all of our learning entities are being very intentional with student outcomes," Ward said.

State Rep. Josh Cantrell (R-District 49) was also on hand as Walters visited with SouthernTech's aviation and nursing students.

"What I love to do is go into areas of the state where we're seeing exceptional results," Walters said. "We're seeing folks that are doing much better than the state average. Getting to talk to leadership. getting to speak to teachers here, and talk about what they're doing in the classroom, and then one of my favorites is talking with the kids."

Representative Josh Cantrell acknowledged south central Oklahoma's need for electricians and HVAC workers, to which both Cantrell and Walters applauded SouthernTech's programs in addressing those needs.

"One of the things we've been asking career techs across the state is to really utilize their resources for the areas that the state really has a workforce shortage in," Walters explained. "We're going to be using SouthernTech as an example of a district that really, specifically targeted those workforce areas."