Leah Anne Taylor
From left, Jim Struby, OKDHS; Rep. Charles Ortega; Joe Robinson, ODCTE; Leah Anne Taylor; Janie Clay, OkCTEEC; and Kathy Quinn-Teague, OSRHE.
April 25, 2014
Western Oklahoma State College graduate Leah Anne Taylor recently received the Outstanding Student/Graduate Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Educators Equity Council.
Taylor 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.
A single mother with two children and a 10th-grade education, Taylor entered the college’s POWER Program in January 2012, said Leslie Brown, POWER Program director, who nominated her for the award. Within 24 months, Brown said, Taylor had earned a GED diploma and an Associate in Applied Science in office systems technology and found a full-time job.
Taylor missed only 17 days of class in her two years at WOSC and participated in many workshops and work-based training opportunities and volunteered with community organizations like Oklahoma Blood Institute, Main Street Altus and Habitat for Humanity, Brown 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