Ramona Smith of Carl Albert State College recently received the Outstanding Member Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.
Smith 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.
“I truly enjoy working with the students,” Smith said. “The Power I program gives them a support system and can identify resources the students may need while attending college or a career tech to ensure their success.
Words can hardly describe the feeling I get when I see a former student who has battled through any number of barriers such as domestic violence, being homeless, or not as academically talented as others, overcome and get their education.”
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.
As director of CASC’s Power 1 Program in Leflore, Haskell and Sequoyah counties, Smith is responsible for directing staff of the program in all three counties, for numerous reports required by program guidelines and numerous daily tasks, including working directly with students, said Ashley Watts, Power 1 Program specialist.
“She has an excellent rapport within the communities in which the programs are housed, and unlike many employees, her job does not stop when she leaves the office at the end of the day,” Watts said. “She has spent numerous hours of her personal time to speak with others regarding a student or their situation in order to find resources. She has also spoken on students’ behalf to help them in their individual situations.”
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.