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Linda Craig

Kiamichi Technology Centers graduate

Linda Craig, a graduate of Kiamichi Technology Centers, recently received the Outstanding Student/Graduate Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

She was one of 12 Oklahomans honored, along with four businesses and organizations, at the 27th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol in a virtual ceremony April 30. 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.

After she earned her high school equivalency, Craig enrolled in the KTC dental assistant program and was referred to the Power I program at Carl Albert State College. A single mother of two, Craig “started moving full speed ahead with her curriculum at Power I, KTC and searching for a dentist that would not only participate but qualify as her clinical site for her KTC class,” said Karen Ford, Power I program specialist, who nominated her for the award. “She was a self-starter and very motivated to completing her mission.”

Craig worked out a transportation schedule to get to and from her clinical site at Stigler Health and Wellness, which was more than an hour away from her home and the classroom. She completed her Technical Skills Certificate at Power I and her dental assistant certification in three months, Ford said.

After she earned her certification, Stigler Health and Wellness hired Craig.

“She is an inspiration to all of those who are where she once was. Her story shines light onto what can be accomplished when goals are set and minds are made up to succeed,” Ford 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 Making It Work Day ceremony is such an important part of OkCTEEC as it publicly acknowledges those students, programs and business partners that have done an outstanding job meeting their career goals,” said KayTee Niquette, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. “The event this year is even more important, as we have persevered through a pandemic and still have individuals who have excelled.”

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.

The COVID-19 pandemic created challenges, said Lisa D. Brown, OkCTEEC president and director for career transitions at Oklahoma City Community College, but students, faculty, staff and community partners met the challenges head-on, redesigning traditional methods of assistance and education.

“These students have persevered through the many changes in their pursuit of their goals and even some events in their own families,” she said. “In addition to their academic success, they have strengthened even more skills in communication, collaboration, adaptation and endurance that will be of great benefit as valuable life skills they will never forget they developed or discovered they had.”

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

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