- Gina McPherson, special programs manager for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and adviser to the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council, recently received OkCTEEC’s Making It Work Day Spotlight Award. Pictured are, from left, Bryce Fair, OSRHE associate vice chancellor for scholarships and grants; Patrick Klein, Oklahoma DHS chief officer and division director of adult and family services; McPherson; and Becki Foster, Oklahoma CareerTech chief of staff.
She was one of 14 Oklahomans honored, along with four businesses and organizations, 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
McPherson is the State Regents’ adviser for all Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs, TRIO programs and other special programs across Oklahoma and, in addition to advising OkCTEEC, is an adviser for the Oklahoma Association of Career and Employment Professionals Inc.
“OkCTEEC has benefited from Gina’s wisdom, great insight and most of all her willingness to do whatever is needed to help get the job done,” said Leslie Brown, director of the POWER Program at Western Oklahoma State College, who nominated her for the award. “For OkCTEEC, Gina has helped set up tables, mentored incoming presidents for the organization, helped in fundraising efforts, contacted dignitaries, served as an assistant liaison to the legislators.”
McPherson, who recently completed a master’s degree, also visits all TANF college programs across the state every year to review the programs, Brown said.
“Gina is always thorough, fair and kind. She can tell you what you should be doing to do better without making you feel terrible,” Brown said. “Her leadership is appreciated and beneficial to all.”
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 McPherson.
“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.