Two national awards have been bestowed upon staff at Canadian Valley Technology Center in recognition of innovative, short-term courses.
The accolades were courtesy of the Association of Career and Technology Education. CV Tech staff were recognized with the the Diversity & Inclusion Award for a sign language communication class and with the Innovation Award for a statewide nurse refresher class partnership.
Both awards were presented within the Post-secondary Adult and Career Education (PACE) division.
Staff within CV Tech’s Adult Career and Community Development (ACCD) division identified a breach between the hearing and hard of hearing/deaf communities. They sought to offer a way for businesses and families to bridge the gap. A native sign language speaker was hired to teach online Sign Language levels 1 and 2 courses.
Those within the deaf culture often find themselves outside of our mainstream society, said CV Tech Business and Industry Services Director Angela Lewis. Yet, individuals that depend on American sign language as their main means of communication are our friends and neighbors, members of our workforce and our communities, she said.
“Communication is empowering,” Lewis said. “When we realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world around us, that understanding can be used as a guide to learn effective ways to smoothly communicate with others.”
The second national award is the result of CV Tech staff partnering with organizations to address shortages of licensed nurses in Oklahoma’s healthcare system during the Covid 19 pandemic. Lewis said staff helped remove obstacles for people seeking to attain licenses and secure gainful employment through Nurse Refresher courses.
Nurse Refresher is a short-term, 160-hour course intended to benefit LPNs and RNs who do not have an active license but want to return to practice. The class can also benefit those who have been unsuccessful in passing the required state board exam.
Due to the combined efforts of CV Tech staff, the Oklahoma Board of Nursing and the OU College of Nursing, revisions were made to lower the number of hours required for students who achieve baseline competency.
Students can now reasonably complete Nurse Refresher education in six to eight weeks instead of between one and two years, according to Sharon Mitchell, ACCD Coordinator at CV Tech.
A sizeable donation from the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma provided free tuition for 100 people seeking Nurse Refresher courses across the state. More than one-fourth of those received their training at CV Tech.