In the News

Finding Skilled Workers for Skilled, Growing Jobs

Garrett Giles, Bartlesville Radio

Tulsa, OK , August 29, 2019

At Tulsa Tech’s Lemley Campus in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s First District U.S. Representative Kevin Hern met with industry leaders to discuss the vocational training programs offered by Tulsa Tech and other technical colleges in the area.

In our booming job market, Rep. Hern said many employers are having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill their open positions and growing companies. He said the problem isn’t that there aren’t enough workers – it’s that these skilled jobs need specific training.

Employers in the construction fields are desperately needing workers. A recent study by the Association for General Contractors says 70-percent of construction companies are having trouble finding qualified workers nationwide. In Oklahoma, 75-percent of companies report having a hard time filling some hourly craft positions.

According to further studies from the US. Department of Education, there will be 68-percent more job openings in infrastructure-related fields in the next five years than there are people training to fill them. The same study says only 31-percent of Oklahoma companies report outreaching to local colleges, universities, or vocational schools as a method that their firm uses to recruit workers.

Meanwhile, studies from the Manufacturing Institute indicate that 89-percent of U.S. executives in the manufacturing sector agree there is a talent shortage. The same study indicates that the skills gap could leave 2.4 million jobs unfilled of the next 10 years, putting nearly $500 billion of manufacturing GDP at risk and $2.5 trillion of economic output over the next 10 years.