Candace D. Keller
From left, Joe Robinson, ODCTE; Candace Keller; Jim Struby, OKDHS; Rep. Glen Mulready; Kathy Quinn-Teague, OSRHE; and Janie Clay, OkCTEEC.
April 25, 2014
Tulsa Technology Center graduate Candace D. Keller recently received the Outstanding Student/Graduate Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Educators Equity Council.
Keller 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.
Keller entered Tulsa Tech’s HIRE Work Prep program in 2011 planning to complete the advertising and design program and eventually start her own graphic design business, said Jeana Mitchell Cole, Tulsa Tech HIRE Work Prep program coordinator, who nominated her for the award. Keller graduated in May 2012, but received a scholarship from Tulsa Tech and decided to continue her education in the visual graphic design program, from which she graduated in May 2013, Cole said.
“Being a single parent, Candace had to go through some adversity and personal struggles in life, but from day one, she immersed herself into the Tulsa Tech culture,” Cole said, adding that Keller joined Future Business Leaders of America and SkillsUSA and was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society.
Since graduation, Keller has started a business and works as a freelancer for Tulsa-area marketing and advertising companies. In November, she was asked to design nine educational war posters for a display at the Military History Museum, Cole 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.
“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