Kelcy Hunter – Gordon Cooper Technology Center and Skills USA
Female construction manager built her future on a foundation of hard work and determination.
THEN: There wasn’t going to be much money for college, with five children in a single-parent household. Kelcy Hunter looked at nearby Gordon Cooper Technology Center for affordable education options, but the Shawnee High School student said she wasn’t excited about any of the female-dominated courses available. Instead, she chose carpentry…despite her mother’s concerns about the hard work and what she thought would surely be limited career opportunities for women. But Hunter’s mother also knew there was no stopping her firstborn, once she had made up her mind. Her daughter enrolled at Gordon Cooper Tech, where she
- Learned basic layout, how to read working drawings and basic estimating.
- Learned forming, framing, and interior/exterior finish work in residential and light commercial construction.
- Served as an officer in Oklahoma SkillsUSA and competed at the state level.
- Received a certification in carpentry and masonry trades.
- Earned OSHA 10, NCCCER, and Forklift /skid steer training and certifications
After high school Hunter continued her education, receiving her associates in applied science degree in construction management from Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology. She worked hard, like her mother predicted, but contrary to her mother’s fears, Hunter has had no problem finding employment. In fact, the project manager at Lingo Construction Services said she used her training to build a four-story, 50-guestroom hotel.
“These skills provided me with a career that I have had since graduation, in the same field I studied,” she said, adding, “I broke the low-income cycle in my family.”
NOW: Hunter is still active in Oklahoma SkillsUSA, the CareerTech student organization that supports training programs in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. She is an industry partner representative for TeamWorks, a state contest that recognizes outstanding students for excellence and professionalism in carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electricity and teamwork skills.
“CareerTech provides career opportunities for all,” she said, “and it fields a critical gap between high school and higher education. That helps eliminate retirement-age individuals cycling out before they can field-train the upcoming workforce.”
Hunter uses her CareerTech skills every day at work, but said she also uses those skills at home.
“When I am requesting work around my home,” she said, “I do my own estimates, so I can verify they are quoting me a fair price.”
“You can train a person on processes and the way of your company, but you cannot teach being on time and putting in the work, which is a requirement of any CareerTech program.”Kelcy Hunter, Lingo Construction Services