Article by the Oklahoma State Department of Career & Technology Education
The Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council honored 15 Oklahomans and eight Oklahoma businesses and nonprofit organizations at the 24th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol on March 29.
Making It Work Day recognizes individuals who are committed to removing barriers to success for single-parent families by providing educational experiences for students beyond the classroom. The ceremony also recognized nontraditional students and members who received national honors for their efforts.
Students and graduates were recognized from the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and award presentations to individuals, businesses and organizations were made at a luncheon at the Oklahoma History Center.
MNTC Auto Collision Technology Instructional Assistant Jade See was honored with the Breaking Traditions - Outstanding CareerTech Non-Traditional Student award. Norman-based business Top of the World was recognized as the Outstanding Business/Industry Partner with MNTC and the Cleveland Co. Health Department was named the MNTC Outstanding Community/Agency Partner with MNTC.
"There isn’t a part of my MNTC experience that had the MOST impact on me; the entire experience has had a life-changing impact. It gave me something to be proud of and a chance to be someone my children will be proud of. That is the most precious gift of all of this. Mr. Booker saw potential in me as a student," said See. "I found what I was looking for in Mr. Booker's class. Now I am his assistant. I love working at Moore Norman. It's such a privilege to be here."
See is a graduate of MNTC’s Auto Collision Technology and HIRE programs and is now employed by MNTC as an instructional assistant for the same program.
“Jade’s success has been honestly earned through hard work, persistence and fortitude,” said MNTC HIRE Coordinator Becky Wood. “But her past experiences pale in comparison to what lies ahead as she works within the CareerTech system. As the first and only female instructional assistant in a nontraditional classroom at Moore Norman Technology Center, Jade will serve as a positive role model for other females in pursuit of nontraditional employment.”
Top of the World has worked with MNTC’s HIRE program for more than a decade, offering internship and employment opportunities to students, said Wood, who nominated the company for the award. HIRE students find internships at Top of the World in the warehouse, accounting, networking, graphic design, licensing and customer service departments, she said.
The Cleveland County Health Department has sent staff members to speak in classes at MNTC through the HIRE program for many years, said Becky Wood, HIRE coordinator, who nominated the department for the award. Two years ago, CCHD also agreed to allow students from HIRE’s administrative office and medical office programs to serve as unpaid interns, she said.
OkCTEEC is affiliated with the administrative division of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. The council advocates for students pursuing nontraditional careers and for resources for educating single parents.
“OkCTEEC believes in the phrase, ‘It takes a village,’ and wants to recognize all those who have helped nontraditional students find success. OkCTEEC serves as a unifying council for all personnel serving displaced homemakers, single parents and pregnant women, nontraditional students, at-risk students, teen parents and pregnant teens.
“The Making It Work Day award ceremony is an event that recognizes and honors all the dedicated and hardworking students, programs and community or business partners that have worked so hard throughout the year to see students’ dreams come to fruition,” said KayTee Niquette, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. She serves as an adviser for OkCTEEC, along with Lisa French of the Department of Human Services and Gina McPherson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
Angela Barnes, OkCTEEC president and coordinator of the REACH and REACH4Work program at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City said, “It is a great day to let our state leaders, legislators and Oklahomans see the faces of those who go over and beyond at making a difference in our state. Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council is an organization devoted to equity in education and employment for disadvantaged groups. It is about providing real-life experiences for our students, developing leaders and maintaining relationships within communities.”
OkCTEEC’s purposes include promoting and supporting career and technology education, increasing its effectiveness, promoting research in the field and in educational equity, developing leadership and advocating for equity and diversity.