On Their Way. Nine mothers completed the EduCareers certified nurse assistant program funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and graduated Dec. 12 during a ceremony at B'nai Emunah, qualifying them for careers in the nursing field.
EduCareers is a component of the University of Oklahoma's School of Community Medicine's Tulsa Children's Project, a program that focuses on advancing the economic and educational achievement of local low-income families with young children. Initially focusing on the high-demand field of nursing, EduCareers combines team-based, high-quality college education with practical, social and emotional support to optimize participants' success. Program participants are provided with tuition, books, assistance with workforce applications, weekly support group meetings, counseling, transportation and child care services, as well as monetary incentives for good performance.
"These nine graduates have exceeded our hopes and expectations for this program," TCP project manager Jerry Root said. "Each woman has an amazing story to tell. They are all on track to enter the nursing field and will become true testimonials and advocates for our next nursing cohort recruitment beginning in March 2011."
EduCare began marketing the EduCareers program to parents of children at Educare 1 through information sessions and referrals from family support specialists at the center. Applicants were then interviewed to assess their depth of individual interest and motivation for nursing. Eligible candidates underwent academic assessments at Workforce Tulsa, and 10 applicants were approved to start nursing studies in August 2010. Of those 10, one was already CNA certified and will be moving forward with the nursing cohort in January 2011 as the group begins LPN-preparatory coursework at Tulsa Tech.
"This exceptional program is part of an integrated model of support for all those who impact a young child's life, including parents and teachers at Educare," said Dr. Jennifer Hays-Grudo, an OU-Tulsa professor of internal medicine. "Because EduCareers was designed as a stair-stepped program, some of the graduates can start working in the nursing field as a CNA immediately, some will go on to pursue their LPN, and some will follow with more education to become registered nurses. With the high demand for health care workers and nurses in particular, the program offers participants the opportunity to become certified in an area that provides good job prospects with long-term career benefits."
Earning Accolades. The Holiday Inn-City Center located downtown at 7th Street and Boulder was awarded the 2010 Renovation winner by the InterContinental Hotels Group at the organization's annual leadership conference in Las Vegas, Nev., in October, according to Shannon Penner, the hotel's general manager.
The hotel, which opened after an $11 million renovation in February, features 220 rooms and contemporary décor, along with the Boulder Grill restaurant, a complimentary business center, a fitness center and 12 suites with living areas. The hotel has 8,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space that can accommodate events with up to 300 guests, along with a rooftop terrace for outdoor events and sunset receptions. The rooftop pool and hot tub are enclosed in glass and covered by a retractable glass roof.
"We are very pleased to have been recognized with this prestigious award by the InterContinental Hotels Group and consider it an enormous honor," Penner said. "IHG is the largest hotel company in the world, so to be chosen as one of the best of the best is very exciting for us and hopefully for the city of Tulsa, as well. We hope everyone will join us in celebrating this accomplishment."
The hotel is owned by OHT IV LLC and managed by Noble Hospitality Inc. under an agreement with a company in the InterContinental Hotels Group.
Plan Ahead. Tulsans needing to do business at City Hall over the next several days should be aware the building will be closed for three extra days over the holidays.
City Hall and other city offices will be closed Dec. 23-24 for Christmas, along with Dec. 31 for New Year's Eve.
Public safety and mission critical operations will continue as normal over the holidays, and residents who need assistance with a water or sewer problem can call the city's 24-hour emergency number at 596-9488.
Trash will be picked up as usual Dec. 23-24, as well as on Dec. 31. The only service days when trash will not be picked up are Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Curbside recycling service will not be affected by the holidays.
Making a Difference. Four state leaders will be honored by Leadership Oklahoma at its annual Excellence in Leadership Gala at Southern Hills Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 12.
"Each yea, we are privileged to recognize the individuals and organizations that make a meaningful difference in Oklahoma," said Ann Ackerman, chief executive officer of Leadership Oklahoma, an organization with the mission of creating a network of leaders from communities across the state. "We honor them for elevating quality of life and empowering our state for greater prosperity."
This year's Leadership Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will be Barry Switzer, the legendary University of Oklahoma football coach, philanthropist and volunteer, for using his leadership abilities to improve the quality of life for Oklahoma's citizens and for dedicating countless hours to Oklahoma's Special Olympics.
The Distinguished Graduate Award will go to Randy Foutch, chairman, CEO and president of Laredo Petroleum Inc. in Tulsa, whose recent leadership activities have exemplified the highest standards of leadership through his success in forming and running his own privately held companies and whose activities achieved results of statewide significance, according to Leadership Oklahoma officials.
Groendyke Transport of Enid, a firm that specializes in the transfer of bulk commodities, will receive the Business Leadership Award for its impact in promoting leadership principles and practices, implementing programs worthy of example and fostering the growth of quality leadership with a commitment to exploring how leadership is perceived, created and sustained, and encouraging community leadership, Leadership Oklahoma officials said.
The Statewide Community Award will be presented to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, the state's oldest and largest private health insurer, as the organization that has reached across valued differences to develop among Oklahomans a sense of common purpose and a more profound sense of loyalty to their home state, according to organization officials.
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