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Elizabeth Crafton - CareerTech Skills Centers

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Skills and confidence – Oklahoma City woman leaves prison with more than a past

Once she passes her journeyman test, Elizabeth Crafton plans to be a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician. The Oklahoma City woman may have some gender barriers to contend with in the male-dominated HVAC industry, but Crafton has spent several years breaking down barriers, and this one should be easy.

Crafton has been doing HVAC and electric work for several years in the maintenance department at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, the minimum-security prison in Taft, Oklahoma, where she was incarcerated.

“I absolutely love working in the trades,” Crafton said. “I love the empowerment it gives a woman.”

Crafton graduated from the licensed trades program in the CareerTech Skills Center at Eddie Warrior. There, she learned safety skills like how to handle acetylene gas and oxygen. She said her instructors emphasized the importance of OSHA and stressed to students that protecting their lives is more important than getting the job done.

In addition to job safety skills, she also learned about the impact supportive and inspiring instructors can have on your self-confidence. Crafton said she had been behind bars long enough to develop a few insecurities.

“I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to make it in a real job out in the world,” she said, “but CareerTech gave me the confidence I needed.”

For Crafton, the licensed trades program has given her a chance to be successful. When she left prison, she left with a skill set and not just a past.

“The CareerTech staff gave me the confidence to go onto the job with my head held high and my shoulders back because I know what I’m doing,” she said.

She is a maintenance technician at the YWCA in Oklahoma City. CareerTech also gave her the opportunity to move into a transitional home called Exodus House.

“Every CareerTech student I have met has been so incredibly grateful for the opportunity they were given, that they are going to go the extra mile to succeed,” Crafton said.

She added that the CareerTech Skills Centers gives students much more than just a trade.

“By hiring a Skills Centers graduate, you’re hiring someone you know has been trained properly,” she said, but the training goes beyond the technical skills. “The Skills Centers instructors teach us how to be good employees and to have a good work ethic.”


Oklahoma CareerTech: Education that works for you

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 60 campuses, 391 PK-12 school districts, 15 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 adult education and family literacy providers.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

Last Modified on Oct 05, 2023