Path Home Shows 2014 Show Archive December 2014 Show 1450 Successful Careers and Bright Futures

Successful Careers and Bright Futures

Economic success depends on businesses having highly skilled workforces.
Successful Careers and Bright Futures

Successful Careers and Bright Futures

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STEM Connector

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Show Details

Show 1450: Successful Careers and Bright Futures
Air Date: December 14, 2014



Andy Barth: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” I’m Andy Barth. Rob McClendon is away this week. It’s called STEM – a simple acronym for subjects that could determine our nation’s future. Science, technology, engineering and math are all fields that currently do not produce enough employees to fill the current job demand. Fifty years ago, nearly 80 percent of all jobs required only a high school diploma and most paid a good wage. Yet today, a high school diploma only qualifies workers for 35 percent of the available jobs, with the majority of them paying less than $25,000 a year. And while Oklahoma’s employment rate continues to improve, those low paying jobs aren’t going away. Oklahoma economist Deidre Myers.

Deidre Myers: For those jobs that require or are sufficient with a high school degree or less, there’s no reason for those wages to go up because there’s plenty of supply for those jobs. So they actually stay depressed.

Andy: And it’s keeping many dead end jobs on the books. So what’s a worker to do?

Deidre Myers: What we need to do is make sure that everybody continues along a career pathway or a pipeline. And so we need for people who have a skill now to increase their skills so that they create jobs that are in the backside of that pipeline that are for lower skills. That means that those people who are not working currently have an entry-level position that they can get into and then start to build their skills. As we do that everybody shifts up the career pathway or the pipeline, and that means every household is earning a little bit more money. Therefore, we increase Oklahoma’s prosperity.