OSU Institute of Technology celebrates Fran Colombin and her commitment to education as she received the Oklahoma Workforce Association Frontline Staff Award at the 2022 Oklahoma Works Conference.
This award was a commendation from Governor Kevin Stitt for her positive impact on Oklahoma's workforce.
"I extend my appreciation for your outstanding contributions and commitment to Oklahoma's Workforce Development system. Your dedication to advancing our communities and empowering fellow Oklahomans through workforce development helps to make our state a better place to live. Thank you for all your hard work and service to others. I wish you well in all your future endeavors," said Governor Stitt.
Colombin began her journey as an educator as a middle school science teacher with Okmulgee Public Schools, where she taught for 35 years before joining OSUIT. Colombin began serving the campus in 1998 as an instructor and became the Adult Basic Education Program director in 2015.
As director of ABE and MPower, Colombin oversees ten programs across five counties designed to assist adult students with a successful transition from the General Education Program into the next level of education to meet their career goals.
These programs have made all the difference for students needing resources and someone to believe in them, like Cori Lawrence, a recent graduate and student respondent for the Spring 2022 graduation ceremony.
"I decided to pursue the nursing field and knew I wanted to complete my allied health degree. Through the help of the MPower program and the assurance of close family and friends who believed in me, I completed my degree debt-free and ready for the next phase of my educational journey," said Lawrence. "Being a single mother, I didn't think a college degree was even within my reach. The resources I have in place allowed me to not only get a college degree but to care for my children."
For some, the next level may be a fast-track certificate program or on-the-job training. For others, that may mean continuing classes at another college or university. No matter the path, it is clear that she desires to empower student success.
"Fran has been a monumental pillar in this community for years. Through her guidance and direction, I am the success I am today. Without her, our two programs here on campus would not be where they are today," said Katie Quillin, Job Developer for MPower. "She is the guiding force behind what we do here! Fran truly believes in each student here in MPower and ABE, and her faith in each of us pushes us all to greatness. Fran's love of teaching and doing what is right has shown our students and me that anything we want to do in life is achievable."
The devotion to her community doesn't stop there; Colombin is active in her community and volunteers as a mentor for new adult education directors, Deep Fork Community Action, Salvation Army, and Pete's Pantry.
She also received recognition from Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council. She was named Outstanding Instructor of Non-Traditional Students for 2022, receiving a Citation of Congratulations from Senator Roger Thompson and Representative Scott Fetgatter.
"Fran is an outstanding employee whose compassionate work with her students is truly a reflection of her heart. The ABE and TANF participant's success after graduation, in both academics and in life, provides compelling evidence of the quality training and guidance that both Fran and Katie Quillin have given them," said Charles Harrison, Associate Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development at OSUIT.