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Rendi Patterson

Rendi Patterson
Rendi Patterson, a graduate of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, recently received the Outstanding Graduate 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; Patterson; and Patrick Klein, Oklahoma Department of Human Services chief officer and division director of adult and family services.
Rendi Patterson, a graduate of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, recently received the Outstanding Graduate Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

Patterson was one of 15 Oklahomans and eight Oklahoma businesses and nonprofit organizations 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.

Coming from a troubled background, Patterson determined to ask for help to build a better future for herself and for her son, said Judy Black, OSUIT job developer and instructor, who nominated Patterson for the award. Her request led Patterson to OSUIT’s M-Power, a career training program, where she met people like her who were also starting over, Black said.

Patterson also enrolled in Oklahoma Work’s Workforce Investment Opportunity Act program and while working on an associate degree, participated in three internships. She was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the Outstanding Student in Business and graduated magna cum laude, Black said.

Immediately after graduating from OSUIT, Patterson began work on a bachelor’s degree in health care administration at Northwestern State University, while continuing her internship at the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce. When her internship ended, she was hired as a permanent staff member at the chamber, Black said. She has since changed her major to organizational leadership.

“She is once again proving the very reason she is deemed our most successful M-Power student and WIOA client and a person who can be held up as an example of how you can overcome obstacles to grow out of poverty to a successful employee and leader,” Black 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.

“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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