OKLAHOMA CITY - One metro teacher was surprised with a $10,000 check for winning 'Teacher of the Year for Outstanding Oklahoma Career Tech personnel.'
"I feel so honored representing my division and now the state. I mean, I'm like literally shaking,” Liz Dinkins, winner of Teacher of the Year for outstanding Oklahoma CareerTech personnel, said.
Dinkins is a graphic design teacher at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. A school that trains the future workforce in areas like technology, business, cosmetology and dozens of other specialties.
"America's built on supply and demand. The demand is high right now for semi-skilled, skilled people and so we're really in need of those great career tech students,” Bob Funk, Sr., CEO of Express Employment Professionals, said.
Bob Funk, Sr. says his company saw 19,000 job orders just last week but there aren't enough people able to fill them.
"There's a shortage in our country for soft skilled people. There's a very heavy shortage all across the country,” Funk said.
Dinkins, who has been teaching for 13 years, has rebuilt the curriculum for two majors and expanded courses for high school students.
She said it's the long lasting effects that give her the most purpose.
"Getting to take a student that has no confidence and they don't feel like they can go and get a job. And they come to you and they learn these skills and you help build their confidence through state competitions and student organizations. And you see them get a job out at Tinker, making good money and have benefits for their family," Dinkins said. "It's just, that's what it's all about right there,”
Dinkins will now compete regionally and nationally through the National Association for Career and Technology.