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Opportunities Industrialization Center of Oklahoma County Inc.

Opportunities Industrialization Center of Oklahoma County Inc.
Opportunities Industrialization Center of Oklahoma County Inc. recently received the Outstanding Community/Agency Partner Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council. Pictured are, from left, Marcie Mack, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education executive director; Kermit McMurry, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education vice chancellor for student affairs; DesJean Jones, OIC executive director; and Patrick Klein, Oklahoma Department of Human Services chief officer and division director of adult and family services.
Opportunities Industrialization Center of Oklahoma County Inc. recently received the Outstanding Community/Agency Partner Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

OIC was one of eight Oklahoma businesses and nonprofit organizations and 15 Oklahomans honored at the 24th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol on March 29. 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

Nine students were recognized from the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and award presentations to individuals, businesses and organizations were made at a luncheon at the Oklahoma History Center.

OIC provides internship opportunities and training opportunities for students in Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City’s REACH and REACH4Work programs, said April Paris, REACH4Work secretary, who nominated OIC for the award. Students who intern at OIC assist in the office and in classes, which gives them the chance to develop interpersonal skills, Paris said.

OIC employees evaluate students, identifying strengths and weaknesses, which allows “students to carefully reflect on their habits before they join the workforce,” Paris said.

DesJean Jones, executive director at OIC, also refers students for interviews at organizations that fit their skills, Paris added. In addition, Jones is a member of the REACH advisory board.

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.

“OkCTEEC believes in the phrase, “It takes a village,” and wants to recognize all those who have helped nontraditional students find success. OkCTEEC serves as a unifying council for all personnel serving displaced homemakers, single parents and pregnant women, nontraditional students, at-risk students, teen parents and pregnant teens. The Making It Work Day award ceremony is an event that recognizes and honors all the dedicated and hardworking students, programs and community or business partners that have worked so hard throughout the year to see students’ dreams come to fruition,” said KayTee Niquette, 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 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 is an opportunity to recognize the success of outstanding students from colleges and career technology centers who contribute to making it work in Oklahoma, as well as those administrators, instructors and community partners who have worked to expand opportunities and improve outcomes through their dedicated and invaluable services,” said Angela Barnes, OkCTEEC president and coordinator of the REACH and REACH4Work program at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. “It is a great day to let our state leaders, legislators and Oklahomans see the faces of those who go over and beyond at making a difference in our state.

“Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council is an organization devoted to equity in education and employment for disadvantaged groups. It is about providing real-life experiences for our students, developing leaders and maintaining relationships within communities.”

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.

For more information about OkCTEEC, visit www.cteec.org/. For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, visit www.okcareertech.org.

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