March 31, 2017
Kristie Jackson, a graduate of Western Oklahoma State College, recently received the Outstanding Student/Graduate Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.
Jackson was one of 15 people and seven businesses and nonprofit organizations honored at the 23rd annual Making It Work Day March 29 at the state Capitol. Making It Work Day recognizes individuals and organizations 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.
After earning her high school equivalency diploma, Jackson was searching for a path to a good job to support herself and her young son when she entered WOSC’s POWER Program in 2014, said Leslie Brown, POWER Program director, who nominated Jackson for the award. After two years in the program, she graduated with a double associate degree and received a job offer from WOSC to be an administrative assistant to the vice president for student support services, Brown said.
“She was also offered a part-time job with the TANF program from which she graduated, which was unprecedented. No client of the POWER Program has ever been offered a job within the program,” Brown said. “Kristie came into POWER a sheepish, scared mom trying to survive and blossomed into a thriving, empowered mom ready to take on the world.”
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 women, nontraditional students and at-risk females. The Making It Work Day award ceremony is held to honor the tireless work of these amazing students, programs and community and business partners,” said Charlie Weeks, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
He 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.
“Making It Work Day at the Capitol focuses on those people in our communities across this state who have gone above and beyond to improve their lives and the lives of others: students who have overcome great barriers to success, instructors who give extra support, administrators who prove what good leadership can do, businesses and community partners who offer a second or even third chance for others to get on their feet,” said Brown, who is also OkCTEEC president.
“That is what we recognize at Making It Work Day at the Capitol. It is their chance to shine and OkCTEEC’s chance to let our state leaders see the faces of those who are truly working hard in our state. Legislators throughout Oklahoma get to meet those who have made a difference in Oklahoma. We at OkCTEEC are honored to be able to have this day of recognition for those who are so deserving.”
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.