OKLAHOMA CITY – Melinda Fruendt, from Guthrie, was honored Thursday with the 2016 Workforce Champion award from the Oklahoma Association of Workforce Development Boards and the Oklahoma Workforce Association.
Donnalla Miller, OAWDB chair, presented the award to Fruendt on the floor of the House of Representatives at the state Capitol during the 2016 Oklahoma Works Alumni and Business Leaders Celebration.
Fruendt is an executive-level project coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, a state agency focused on career planning and employment for Oklahomans with disabilities.
She is the co-lead of the Workforce System Oversight sub-committee of the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development.
“Our main goal is to provide Oklahoma businesses with a pipeline of skilled workers, and, in turn, these employees are a springboard for individual wealth creation and economic growth for our state,” Miller said.
Miller called Fruendt “one of the driving forces” behind the inter-agency team that joined forces to design a more effective, customer-focused workforce system.
“For years, this valued team member traveled the state to share our vision and to provide training and technical assistance to local areas and regions embarking on this journey,” Miller said. “A recurring theme emerged: Access for All.
“And when team members began to doubt or question this initiative, she could be counted on to remind them that change wasn’t an option, it truly was a ‘New day, new way…. Just sayin,’” Miller explained.
“Just sayin’ is a familiar phrase for Fruendt, so Miller revealed the secret award winner with that remark.
“I am honored to be recognized with the champion award by friends and colleagues and proud to have worked together to connect job seekers and employers for a number of years,” Fruendt said. “Access for All is important to our employment mission because it ensures that all jobseekers, including those with disabilities, have fair and equal opportunities to go to work and achieve their career goals.”
Fruendt and her husband Paul operate a cattle ranch and farm with alfalfa, wheat, soybeans and canola crops in Guthrie. They previously served on Young Farmers and Ranchers boards for the Oklahoma Farm Bureau State Committee and American Farm Bureau Federation.
Fruendt is a native of Chouteau.