Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Cleveland County, social services specialist II
Brian Young, social services specialist II with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services in Cleveland County, recently received the Outstanding Community Partner/Agency Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.
He 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.
Young, who works in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families department, goes out of his way to help clients and has been an advocate for the HIRE program at Moore Norman Technology Center and its students, said Matt Fix, HIRE coordinator, who nominated Young for the award.
When a client needed a DHS voucher for new glasses, Fix said he suggested she email Young, but she might have to wait until the next week to get her glasses since it was 4 p.m. on a Thursday. About 10 minutes after she sent the email, however, Fix said, Young called her and told her a voucher was waiting for her.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Brian since I started at HIRE, and he is a wonderful example of everything that DHS should be proud of in an employee,” Fix said. “He has been an integral part of the HIRE program, and I could not appreciate more everything he has done for us and our students.”
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.