Nearly three years ago Alex Pippins knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life, he just needed a little help to make it happen. All he had to do was ask.
After going through the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program at McAlester’s Kiamichi Technology Center, Pippins wanted to continue his education at OSU Institute of Technology’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology program.
Because of a past hand injury that required seven surgeries and a diabetes diagnosis, Pippins turned to the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services who helped him financially so he could attend OSUIT in Okmulgee and commute back home to McAlester every day where he was also caring for his mother.
“They helped me with my gas money, helped with my tuition, helped me get a computer,” he said.
The help had just started once Pippins enrolled in the ACR program.
“The program is awesome. Every one of my teachers are amazing,” he said. “Not one of my instructors hasn’t helped me out if I called with a question. They love their job and they love to teach.”
But the support didn’t stop with his ACR instructors, Pippins said.
“From the ACR program, to the general education teachers, to the Bookstore employees, to the people in the accounting department, these are just caring people who want students to succeed,” he said. “You just have to make an effort.”
He was offered a permanent position at the McAlester Regional Health Center in its plant operations department after completing his internship there. The hospital worked with OSUIT’s Greenovation job-training program to help provide further assistance to Pippins so he could complete his degree.
Pippins, who graduated in April, said he loves his work because it’s never the same.
“The air conditioning field changes every day. There are so many different controls and panels and different areas you can go into. One day you are doing electrical work and the next installing compressors,” he said. “Some jobs you do the same thing every day. With this, there’s no stopping point for learning something new.”
Seven years ago, Pippins said he had $50 and one set of clothes to his name, but now he has found success and a bright future.
“I’m grateful for the choice I made in coming to OSUIT and I thank God for the opportunity.”