Skip to main content

Director's Memo 2021-03-22

Monday, March 22, 2021

Southern Tech receives $4 million grant for aerospace training

The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration has awarded a $4 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Southern Technology Center in Ardmore to help build its aerospace airframe and powerplant certification training facility.

The grant will be matched with $1 million in local investment and is expected to create or retain 340 jobs.

Read more on the EDA website.

Meridian Tech grad works through freeze to help therapy horses

Cantrell Haley, a facilities management graduate of Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, moved into the classroom at Turning Point Ranch to take care of the facilities horses during Oklahoma’s recent freeze.

Haley, the facilities coordinator at the therapeutic riding center, volunteered to stay on-site to care for the horses when temperatures were forecast to drop below zero and take care of any weather-related issues like frozen pipes, nonworking heaters or broken tree branches

He says his education at Meridian prepared him for work maintaining and operating a commercial property. He is continuing his education in the tech center’s masonry program.

Read more on Meridian’s website.

Report on virtual reality includes Oklahoma CareerTech

The Oklahoma News Report recently told how virtual reality is being used in Oklahoma to help bridge skill gaps at work.

The report included a segment featuring an instructor at Great Plains Technology Center discussing how students are using virtual reality in their classes.

CareerTech Champion: Chantel Owens -- Eddie Warrior Skills Center

Head and shoulders shot of Chantel OwensThen: A homeless mother who lost custody of her daughter and spiraled out of control. Before getting involved in drugs, Leta “Chantel” Owens had completed several health care training programs, including medication assistant, phlebotomy, EKG and X-ray technician. But after losing her daughter, Owens said, she stopped caring about anything. She gave in to her drug addiction and was eventually incarcerated for drug-related crimes.

A clerk at Eddie Warrior Skills Center recruited Owens for a different kind of CareerTech training. Owens said she began to change her way of thinking. She became a clerk and then enrolled in the transportation, distribution and logistics program, where she

  • Learned to communicate more effectively.
  • Developed computer skills.
  • Received job search assistance.
  • Received certifications in manufacturing, tools, safety and logistics.

“They worked with nonprofit organizations to find clothing for me,” Owens said. “They set me up with a mentor, told me about job openings and taught me interviewing skills. It boosted my confidence and pushed me forward.”

Owens said she also learned how to teach. After she completed the Skills Centers program, she became an instructor, teaching other inmates skills such as how to use a computer and operate a forklift.

Her instructor, Steve Evans, said she is the only student he has worked with who moved from clerk to student to instructor, setting the bar for herself and others,.

“If there ever was a way to model change and set the stage for success, Chantel mastered it,” Evans said. “It’s been my honor to teach and work side by side with Chantel, supporting her now and in the future as she does great things.”

Now: Owens is an assembly worker at Pregis IntelliPack in Tulsa. She was offered the job prior to being released from prison.

“I was able to share what I learned to help better the lives of other people.” Chantel Owens, assembly worker

Useful links

Follow us on Twitter at @okcareertech and find us on Facebook at OklahomaCareerTech and on Instagram at oklahomacareertech and read our blog, Oklahoma CareerTech Delivers. Find our podcast at

For news about Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, subscribe to CareerTech communications.

You can’t try to do things; you simply must do them. -- Ray Bradbury
Last Modified on May 15, 2023
Back to Top