Chantel Owens – Eddie Warrior Skills Center
Inmate had employment lined up before release.
Then: A homeless mother who lost custody of her daughter and spiraled out of control. Before getting involved in drugs, Leta “Chantel” Owens had completed several health care training programs, including medication assistant, phlebotomy, EKG and X-ray technician. But after losing her daughter, Owens said, she stopped caring about anything. She gave in to her drug addiction and was eventually incarcerated for drug-related crimes.
A clerk at Eddie Warrior Skills Center recruited Owens for a different kind of CareerTech training. Owens said she began to change her way of thinking. She became a clerk and then enrolled in the transportation, distribution and logistics program, where she
- Learned to communicate more effectively.
- Developed computer skills.
- Received job search assistance.
- Received certifications in manufacturing, tools, safety and logistics.
“They worked with nonprofit organizations to find clothing for me,” Owens said. “They set me up with a mentor, told me about job openings and taught me interviewing skills. It boosted my confidence and pushed me forward.”
Owens said she also learned how to teach. After she completed the Skills Centers program, she became an instructor, teaching other inmates skills such as how to use a computer and operate a forklift.
Her instructor, Steve Evans, said she is the only student he has worked with who moved from clerk to student to instructor, setting the bar for herself and others,.
“If there ever was a way to model change and set the stage for success, Chantel mastered it,” Evans said. “It’s been my honor to teach and work side by side with Chantel, supporting her now and in the future as she does great things.”
Now: Owens is an assembly worker at Pregis IntelliPack in Tulsa. She was offered the job prior to being released from prison.
“I was able to share what I learned to help better the lives of other people.”Chantel Owens, assembly worker