The Stillwater Home Builders Association has been supporting Meridian Technology Center for over 30 years. This year, in partnership with Atwoods Ranch & Home, they donated a new pair of work boots to each of the 91 students in the construction trades programs. Those programs include Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Carpentry, Electrical Technology, Facilities Management and Masonry.
Through donations and grants to the Meridian Technology Center Foundation, SHBA has made it a priority to support students — the future home builders. Most recently, they have been providing grants for students who qualify for the national SkillsUSA competition, where students demonstrate their knowledge and skills while competing against others across the nation. The grant money helped offset travel expenses for the students in need.
This year, though, Desiree Jenkins, a first-year director of SHBA, decided the association needed to do something that would impact every student in the programs.
She and Brenda Marlow, SHBA’s Operations Management Consultant, came up with the idea for the boots. “We thought, ‘Well, they all need a pair of work boots,’” said Jenkins. “This would carry on to put their boots literally on the ground. It’s important they know we care about the building trades students at Meridian.”
Once they had a plan, it was time to find a partner. They had a budget set for the project, but it wasn’t going to be enough to cover the entire cost. With each pair of boots costing over $100, they needed to find someone willing to donate a portion of the cost.
“[Atwoods] thought it was very important to be a part of such a big impact,” said Jenkins.
Ninety-one pairs of boots later, students were left with smiles on their faces and the equipment they need to get one step closer to a job in the construction industry.
“These boots are going to be a real asset, especially working on a job site or for a company for the first time. A lot of companies require you to buy your own boots, and you don’t always have the equity to do that. This will definitely get you started on the right track to being successful in what you do,” said Carpentry student Caden Carlile.
Electrical Technology Instructor Wayne Ford explained how much it can cost a student to get the work necessities required for a job. “By the time they buy hand tools, work clothes and everything, it can cost them about $1,000 before they even go to work. This will help them get their feet up underneath them,” he said. “I think it’s wonderful that Stillwater Home Builders is investing into our future like this.”
Both SHBA and Atwoods plan to make this an annual event and provide boots for each incoming class of students.
For more information about Meridian’s full-time career training programs, visit meridiantech.edu/programs or call (405) 377-3333 or toll-free at (888) 607-2509.
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, Business and Industry services and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts. Meridian is one of 29 schools within Oklahoma’s CareerTech system.