The Oklahoman has recognized Meridian Technology Center as the Top Mid-Size Workplace in Oklahoma for the second consecutive year. The school also earned the My Manager Award, recognizing the support that employees report receiving from their supervisor.
“Our greatest strength is our employees,” said Superintendent/CEO Dr. Douglas R. Major. “We hire based on talent, experience and passion. The outcome has been a dedicated team that truly is focused on educating, enriching lives and securing economic futures for the individuals and communities we serve. This award recognizes their commitment and their impact.”
Major added that he and the school’s Board of Education recognize that numerous factors help employees understand the impact their role has on the school’s overall success.
“It’s not just one thing – it is the result of being intentional in several aspects,” he explained. “This includes knowing their supervisor cares about them, having the equipment to do their job, having the opportunity to learn and grow, and working for an organization where they know their work supporting the mission is impactful. Each of these has been an important focus for Meridian and has resulted in the organization’s positive culture.”
This is the eighth year that Meridian has been on the Top Workplaces list and the third time it has earned the Top Mid-Size Workplace special recognition. In addition to earning this designation last year, in 2019, the school was celebrated for Direction – meaning employees shared that they believe Meridian is going in the right direction. In 2016, the school earned honors for its commitment to professional development and training for staff members.
For Energy and Power instructor Jeff Littau, what separates Meridian apart is the work culture.
“My appreciation for the culture at Meridian lies in teamwork and collaboration,” he explained. “I feel like I can always reach out and ask a question to anyone.
The Top Workplaces designations are based solely on employee feedback. Meridian employees completed a survey created by Energage, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. Employees were asked to evaluate the company’s direction, execution of ideas, connectedness to the organization, role satisfaction, supervision and employee benefits.
This year’s survey results once again reflect high support levels for the school’s direction, decisions and support. Appreciation continues to be a big part of Meridian’s culture.
For Ashely Hernandez Torres, the school’s Financial Aid Officer, the positive survey results are directly related to the encouragement and commitment within individual departments and across the school.
“There is always a positive and encouraging atmosphere,” she said. “I believe every department works well together to achieve our mission as a team. We respect and treat each other like family because we are family.”
The Impact of Values-Based Leadership
Meridian’s values are relationships, excellence, innovation, integrity, empowerment and impact. Icons representing these values are located in several campus areas to remind staff and students of the school’s commitment to its mission of “Educate. Enrich lives. Secure economic futures.” In addition to these visual reminders, school leaders and staff routinely connect values to ongoing projects, new initiatives and collaboration.
Recent examples of how students and staff live out the school’s values include staff members serving on business and education councils to give input on program direction, Cosmetology students offering free haircuts to Perry Public School students, Practical Nursing students helping with a local pharmacy’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics and students in the school’s building trades programs assisting with local Habitat for Humanity home construction.
As well as having nearly 900 students enrolled in full-time career training programs, in the year leading up to the survey Meridian’s Workforce and Economic Development team served 250 businesses, delivered nearly 13,000 hours of training in customized training courses, and offered 286 open enrollment courses. The Center for Business Development is a business incubator that currently supports 11 companies that create jobs and commercialize new technologies.
Employees and students are committed to supporting the local community. The class of 2021 contributed more than 2,300 community service hours during their time at Tech. Staff members are encouraged to serve on local boards and professional organizations, and many do so.
Meridian staff members recently put their creativity to work for a good cause. As part of the school’s fundraising efforts for the United Way of Payne County, staff members built Pinewood Derby cars. Grounds Supervisor Chris Harmon positions cars for the next round of competition.