From left, Jim Struby, OKDHS; Rep. Todd Russ; Keith Theesen; Joe Robinson, ODCTE; Janie Clay, OkCTEEC; Kathy Quinn-Teague, OSRHE.
April 25, 2014
Caddo Kiowa Technology Center welding technology instructor Keith Theesen recently received the Outstanding Instructor of Non-Traditional Students Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Educators Equity Council.
Theesen was one of 25 people honored at the 20th annual Making It Work Day April 24 at the state Capitol. 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.
In the more than 20 years he has been at Caddo Kiowa, Theesen has taught more than 650 daytime adult and secondary students, in addition to the adult students he taught in evening classes during the last 15 years, said Ronda Weaver, Caddo Kiowa Work Prep coordinator, who nominated him for the award.
Theesen usually sees more than 60 students a year complete the welding technology program, Weaver said, adding that his students have included 45 women, ranging from high school students to single mothers to grandmothers.
“His job placement related to the training percentage averages 89 percent,” Weaver said. “His welding technology program has tremendous impact on Oklahoma’s economy with a common wage of $29 per hour.”
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.
“The mission of OkCTEEC is to serve as a unifying council for all personnel serving displaced homemakers, single parents, teen parents, single pregnant teens and women, nontraditional students and at-risk females,” said Lou Ann Hargrave, 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 Sandy Elledge of the Department of Human Services and Kathy Quinn-Teague of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
“State and federal programs often cannot remove all the obstacles facing those living in poverty,” said Janie Clay, OkCTEEC president and coordinator of the Allied Jobs Program at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. “Therefore, a strong community partnership is imperative among agencies, businesses and industries as the participants transition from education and training to employment and self-sufficiency. We rely heavily on our partners to provide learning opportunities outside the classroom.”
Laura Wilson, Writer/Editor