April 25, 2014
Kiamichi Technology Center graduate Sheena Rhoads recently received the Outstanding Student/Graduate Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Educators Equity Council.
Rhoads 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.
Rhoads was a student in Kiamichi Tech’s TRAIN program for 12 months and completed the business administration and information technology program, said Faith Hollis, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at Kiamichi Tech, who nominated Rhoads for the award.
“Not always the model student, she was at one point dropped for absences,” Hollis said. “Finally realizing the program was there for her benefit, Sheena ultimately went on to serve as secretary of the Business Professionals of America chapter and was listed on the Director’s Honor Roll.”
Rhoads is now a full-time employee at Choctaw Casino, Hollis said, adding that the technology center graduate is “earning a sustainable wage and loving her job.”
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