By Tiffany Kirkes
I (Tiffany Kirkes) began working for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program in September 2012. Kopps on the Run was the first business I began working with to establish a connection for On-the-Job Training (OJT) participants. Lena contacted our office with interest in learning about the programs we offer. Together we have successfully filled two positions at Kopps on the Run. I have had the privilege to get to know her and would love to share with you a little bit about Lena Kopp.
So, who is Lena? “I am a tribal member, I have some college with a lot of training and certifications from NCCER which is the National Center for Construction Education and Research. I worked construction since I graduated High School. Started as a labor and worked my way up from an Ironworker to an Iron supervisor and a boilermaker to a boilermaker supervisor. I am also a welder and have recently moved up to a Q/C which is a Quality Control Manager. All of the these things were a great achievement for me because of being a woman in the construction field; working in power plants, steel mills, paper mills, and refineries.
But, my latest achievement was starting my own business which is something I have always wanted to do. Starting a drug and alcohol collection facility was my husband’s idea and a really good one. Since my last baby who is now 10 months old, we wanted to have something where I could stay home with our 6 kids instead of me traveling off. My next goal is opening a welding school here in Hugo, OK. I am currently working on this as well.”
I feel that Lena is a valuable asset to the Choctaw Nation WIA, OJT program. She has accepted two of our participants from the OJT program to complete their training at her business. Not only has she accepted them for employment and training, but she has taught them new skills and has encouraged them to further their education. She has provided them with opportunities to obtain certificates in Psychemedics Sample Collection, Hair Collection, Urine Drug Collector, and allowing them to attend the local Kiamichi Vocational Technology center to be certified in Phlebotomy. Along with this training and skills they have also gained employment at Kopps on the Run, upon completion of the program.
Lena has took it a step further by informing many of the surrounding businesses and her colleagues with information regarding the services our office provides. In doing this it has led to multiple businesses contacting our office seeking participants to fill available positions and not always by going through the OJT program. I have also received e-mails and newspaper clippings providing me with leads to find employment opportunities for our participants still seeking employment. She also come up with the idea for me to create flyers to hang up in her office.
I have nominated Lena for her positive attitude, creative ideas, and the amazing training she provides our participants. She has fulfilled all request given with quick responses and complete dedication. I feel that she has gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist our participants and myself. I am very appreciative and truly amazed by all that she has to offer.