New job opportunity for Instructor provides career growth, helps fill the gap between training and the workforce
Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center’s former 3D and Web Design Instructor Travis Tracy, directed, encouraged and educated students in the classroom for 10 years before he transitioned into his current role as EOC Tech’s Career Connection Coordinator in the fall of 2022. This year, Tracy entered his second year in this position and although he is no longer behind a desk guiding students through designing websites or creating 3D characters for video game projects, he continues to pour into the student body, functioning as the bridge between program areas and the industry.
As a high school student, Tracy attended Mid America Technology Center’s Computer-Aided Drafting program (CADD). After he completed the program he went straight to work to help support his young family.
“Whenever I was in high school, I found myself in a position where I really needed to start my career quickly,” he said. “After learning about my circumstances, my instructor told me he would do whatever he could to help me, and he meant it. So I ended up taking on a Drafting role at the Postal Service and worked there for 12 years.”
After his time working in the postal service designing/handling Parts Books for postal equipment, Tracy sensed it was time to pursue something new. When the 3D and Web Design Instructor position opened at EOC Tech in 2012, he found himself back in the classroom, this time as the instructor, while he also continued in his education.
“Since I stepped-foot on this campus as an Instructor, I’ve been going to college,” he said. “I only had about 12 credit hours of my Bachelor’s under my belt, so aside from a few breaks here and there, I just now finished school completely.”
Tracy received his Bachelor’s of Science in Education and Workforce Development from the University of Central Oklahoma in December of 2020 and his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from East Central University in May of 2023.
The Career Connections Coordinator position stemmed from LEAP (Leadership, Employability, Academics, Problem Solving), a program in place to help students in developing essential skills for their future career and give the knowledge needed in how to advance in the workforce. LEAP was split in half and the Leadership and Employability portions combined, make up the central focus of the Career Connection Coordinator position.
Part of Tracy’s role as the Career Connection Coordinator is to work with both students and instructors at EOC Tech, to better understand students’ career goals, and to act as an aid during the process of moving them from the classroom setting to their career field.
“On the student side, I’m providing workshops such as resume writing and communication and interview skills, as well as a Job Fair in the Spring,” he said. “And on the opposite end, I’m also working with the industry quite a bit so I’m getting phone calls every day, asking for help filling different positions and roles. I’m then able to talk with instructors about their students to see if they have someone in mind that would be a good fit.”
Tracy said that one of the things he misses about the classroom is seeing the beginning and the end stages of students’ learning process throughout the program and watching them move into careers. However, when he completed his Master’s Degree earlier this year, he could feel his passion shift from working with only students to also working with instructors. The many components of the Career Connection Coordinator position allowed him to broaden his focus and help a wide range of individuals across campus.
“I’m able to see a greater number of students and hopefully play a pivotal role in helping them move from the classroom to career, which is pretty rewarding,” he said. “Working in the classroom for 10 years, I knew I loved it, but I just had some other goals and other dreams that I wanted to pursue and this position gave me the ability to do that.”
Education and certification requirements constantly change and evolve along with the demands of the workforce, but what has remained constant is the dedication EOC Tech Faculty and Staff has for the long-term success of their students.
“I’m only a year into this position but I hope 10 years from now that they come back and say ‘Thank you for helping me write my resume,’ or ‘Thank you for helping me make this connection in the Industry,’” he said. “You always hope to have those things and I think we will.”
What makes Tracy so passionate about the education field is the difference he’s able to make in the lives of others. Whatever role he finds himself in throughout the rest of his career, he hopes to continue aiding students and instructors alike.
I enjoy the position I’m in, I feel very happy with this new role and I look forward to working with students and providing more support for instructors and ideally being a bigger influence over the campus, as a whole.”