Citizen Potawatomi Nation was honored this year as a Partner in Progress.

Each year, Oklahoma Association of Career & Technology Education (OkACTE) hosts Partners in Progress to honor business and industry partners who work with technology centers across the state.

This year, Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma, selected Citizen Potawatomi Nation as its Partner in Progress, and representatives from both organizations attended a banquet Feb. 20 in Edmond, Oklahoma, where Tribal leadership was presented with an award.

GCTC listed just some of the ways CPN has partnered with and supported the school.

CPN Vice-Chairman Linda Capps, a founding member of the GCTC Foundation Board, has served as a sponsor for the GCTC Foundation Rocket Man Run, a 5K race held annually that raises scholarship money for GCTC students.

In 2023, Gordon Cooper established its first Lineworker Training Program, at the end of which students will be able to begin work as pre-apprentice linemen. CPN helped sponsor the first session of the program.

The two organizations have worked together on other training opportunities as well. GCTC has provided CPN staff training in a variety of departments, from Sovereign Pipe to CPN Housing Authority, in everything from forklift and safety, de-escalation and customer service, to multi-generational communication. CPN has also provided Gordon Cooper students with hands-on experience, allowing them to work in a design shop.

The Tribe has also helped the technology center in other areas as well. FireLake Discount Foods has provided donations to a toiletry cabinet that supplies students in need. House of Hope partners with GCTC to provide outreach to students who may be survivors of domestic violence.

“Without the support that you have offered us in many forms, our programs would not be the success that they have become today,” OkACTE Executive Director Skye McNiel told attendees at the event. “The career opportunities that are possible for our students are a direct result of the support each of you have provided. We believe that the support you show our technology centers allows our students to be more successful in school, more excited about future careers, better equipped for the workforce, better employees for future employers and better contributors as citizens and taxpayers for our communities and state.”

GCTC is an accredited institution and is one of 29 career and technical education options within Oklahoma’s career tech system. It serves an area in east-central Oklahoma, covering approximately three counties. To learn more about GCTC, visit