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Oklahoma Works Poteau Office

The Poteau office of Oklahoma Works recently received the Outstanding Community Partner/Agency Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

The office was one of four businesses and organizations honored along with 14 individuals at the 26th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol on Feb. 13. 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 presentations were made at a ceremony at the Oklahoma History Center. The ceremony also recognized nontraditional students.

Under the direction of Cathy Anderson, the Oklahoma Works office in Poteau has been a longtime supporter of the Power I program at Carl Albert State College, said Ramona Smith, CASC Power I director, who nominated the office for the award.

Students doing internships at the office have the opportunity to develop clerical and interpersonal skills, including verbal and nonverbal communication, listening, manners, problem-solving and awareness, Smith said.

“Many of our students have little or no job experience,” she said. “the Oklahoma Works office is a wonderful stepping stone into the workforce or help give insight to possible career paths beyond what they have already received.”

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 increase the awareness of collegiate and technical education by focusing on high expectations and full participation for all students and employees in career and education in Oklahoma. The Making It Work Day Ceremony is held to recognize those individuals, programs and business partners that have worked so hard throughout the year as well as bring a direct awareness to state senators and legislators,” 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 is our annual opportunity to spotlight the investment and hard work that is being done to empower our students who are single parents and most often first generation students who dream and want to pursue higher education,” said Lisa D. Brown, OkCTEEC president and director for career transitions at Oklahoma City Community College. “We encourage them to aspire to set goals as never before, take the steps to achieve those goals and then gain the confidence and success of completing those goals.

“Making it Work Day is their red carpet moment to celebrate these successes and to show and not just tell Oklahoma that this program and its funding is well spent and valuable to the lives of these individuals, not for that moment but for a lifetime. I often relate what we do to the story of the butterfly that finally leaves the cocoon being transformed as confident, beautiful, strong and free to soar.”

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

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