Welding and Metal Fabrication Open House a success

Susan McElhaney
Caddo Kiowa Technology Center
405-643-3229 (Phone)
405-668-2588 (Mobile)
405-643-3015 (Fax)

One goal of Welding and Metal Fabrication Instructor Keith Theesen is not turning away any student. With the high demand for skilled workers, a growing waiting list for the program, limited space and aging equipment, that personal objective has become increasingly harder to keep.

But with his goal the driving force, leadership with a vision for bridging the skills gap, and state representatives who support the initiatives at technology centers across the state, Caddo Kiowa Technology Center started a grant application to broaden the scope of the Welding program.

The result is a new and improved Welding and Metal Fabrication program in a remodeled building, equipped to meet the needs of business and industry specific training.

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“This is about two years in the making,” Superintendent Dennis Ruttman recently told a group of people attending the Welding and Metal Fabrication Open House. “We knew we had to do something, so we submitted an application for an Oklahoma Career Tech Lottery Grant.”

After being awarded the grant funds, CKTC made plans to maximize the program. New equipment replaced older, outdated equipment. What’s more, the funds allowed the program to go from just providing welding training to a full-functioning welding and metal fabrication department.

Dr. Marcie Mack, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, applauded the vision of leaders at the center for doing their part to fill the skills gap in Oklahoma.

Representative David Perryman and Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education Executive Director Skye McNiel both commended the staff and board at CKTC for doing all the right things to answer the demand for skilled workers in the district and the state.

Instructor Theesen concluded the day’s events by thanking administration, board and legislators for supporting his department and his students.

Few who know Theesen, would not say his passion for the field, his program and his students are what has made the program at CKTC nothing short of excellent. Moreover, the move made by CKTC administration and board to boost the program even more with state-of-the-art equipment is exemplary.

Theesen usually sees more than 60 students a year complete the program. With recent updates, that number will potentially reach 100 graduates. With a job placement related to the training percentage averaging 97 percent and an average wage of $23 per hour, the program is having a tremendous impact on the skills gap and the economy.

For almost half a century, Caddo Kiowa Technology Center has provided career training, business and industry services and leadership programs to a rural district in southwest Oklahoma. Opportunities at CKTC range from business and health to science and transportation trades and encompass customized workplace training and short-term training. Additional information about CKTC is available online at www.caddokiowa.com or by calling 405.643.5511.


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