Tulsa Tech Students Break Tradition
By KARA GAE NEAL
Courtesy Tulsa Tech
Each year the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education recognizes students who have chosen to study specific programs which are based on the student’s interests and abilities, rather than traditional gender roles, with the aptly named, “Breaking Traditions Award.” Nominees for the award contribute by creating more awareness and support of all non-traditional students and programs.
Non-traditional training and employment is defined by occupations and careers where individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of the individuals employed in a particular field.
Cathy Courtney, an adult student who has already completed Tulsa Tech’s masonry program and is currently studying to begin an electrical apprenticeship, has been nominated for one of this year’s awards. Her initial decision to study these two construction-related occupations wasn’t determined by her gender, it was built on her desire to achieve her goals and follow her dreams.
“I decided to investigate these non-traditional classes because I felt these choices were interesting, with opportunities for employment,” Courtney explains. “I enjoy working with my hands, having the flexibility to move from one project to another, and overcoming challenges.”
Larry Batson, Tulsa Tech’s instructor for electrical technology, thinks his student has already overcome the obstacles that some adult students may encounter after returning to school.
“Sometimes it can be challenging for adults who are returning to school,” Batson explains. “They’re learning new things and keeping up with assignments.”
Courtney admits that returning to school was a little more difficult at first, and although she feels being nominated for this year’s award is very considerate, she spends more time thinking about her professional goals rather than her age or gender.
“My dream is now becoming a reality, one step at a time,” Courtney says. “The first step is to finish my electrical training and my electrical apprenticeship. Eventually, I would like to be an owner of a small business which incorporates all of the new skills I’ve learned.”
“The electrical field offers a lot of choices,” Batson says. “In addition to construction and some of the heavy-labor jobs we often associate with electrical work, there are opportunities for interior wiring, control wiring, alarm systems and entertainment systems.”
Courtney is quick to recommend that everyone, regardless of their age or gender, follow their vision and the path best suited to their individual abilities.
“I certainly hope more students will investigate non-traditional careers in an effort to reach their full potential,” Courtney says. “Now is the time to take advantage of whatever training they need to fulfill their dream.”
If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality business and industry training, or dreaming of a new career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5200 or visit us online at tulsatech.edu.