Path Home Shows 2014 Show Archive September 2014 Show 1439 Retraining Oklahomans for Today’s Workforce

Retraining Oklahomans for Today’s Workforce

Building a clear career pathway for entering the manufacturing workforce is critical for the U.S. economy.
Retraining Oklahomans for Today’s Workforce

Retraining Oklahomans for Today’s Workforce

For more information visit these links:

Indian Capital Technology Center

Ground Force Worldwide

Bennett Steel Inc.

Central Tech


Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance

Manufacturing Day

Oklahoma 2014 Event Schedule

Show Details

Show 1439: Retraining Oklahoman’s for Today’s Workforce
Air Date: September 28, 2014



Rob McClendon: Well, building a clear career pathway for young people to enter America’s manufacturing workforce is certainly critical for our economy. But so is the ability to retrain employees for the demands of today’s ever-changing workplace. Joining me now is our Andy Barth.

Andy Barth: That’s right, Rob. With today’s manufacturing industry incorporating more and more technology, workers are having to retrain themselves to become more competitive in the workplace.

Andy: Manufacturing – a key player in today’s economy. But with baby boomers retiring, they’re leaving a big problem behind.

Bill Arnold: There’s a lack of skilled workforce right now.

Andy: Which is why Indian Capital Technology Center is geared up to retrain today’s workforce.

Tony Barrett: Here at Indian Capital we just installed a new maintenance training facility.

Andy: Indian Capital Industrial Coordinator Tony Barrett.

Barrett: We’re doing hydraulic training, we’re doing electric motor control, we’re doing PLC trouble shooting training. We’re learning how to program these new equipment that’s coming into manufacturing that’s basically run off of computers.

Andy: And instructor Bill Arnold says this program helps workers learn new skills while enhancing what they already know.

Arnold: There’s a lack of skilled trades in the area and all over the country. And that’s something we’re lacking, and it gives some of the people the ability to come in and learn new trades as well as the trades they already have and enhance the trades.

Andy: And Barrett says Indian Capital helps companies bring their workers up to speed for a high-tech workplace.

Barrett: There’s no one else out there that’s going to train our maintenance guys, to give them the refresher training that they need to go along with the new equipment and technology that’s coming in and advancing.

Andy: New technology that’s essential for an up-and-coming workforce.

Barrett: There’s numerous production facilities out there, and we all have to have these things. Just like the numerous companies that we’re doing training with now, if we don’t have somebody to come in and take these jobs and fill these positions as the older workforce is leaving these positions, we’re gonna have a loss.

Andy: Retraining today’s workforce for tomorrow’s high-tech jobs.

Andy: Well, now, Indian Capital Technology Center is part of a larger effort to retrain today’s workers. The Oklahoma Department of CareerTech leads the nation in training people to become more high-tech.

Rob: And I understand this effort, Andy, is gaining national attention.

Andy: It really is, Rob. People are coming from Idaho to see how the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech System creates high demand for their students.

[Grinding metal].

Andy: With sparks flying and metal grinding, Oklahoma’s manufacturing industry is booming. And the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech is helping make that possible. Central Tech Center’s Stephanie Pool.

Stephanie Pool: If you look at the jobs that are open, about 20 percent of ’em really need to go on to higher ed for those degrees. So you’re looking at a huge majority of them that need technical skills, certification and training. And that’s exactly what CareerTech provides.

Andy: Which is why Idaho business owner Ron Nilson traveled to the Sooner State – to learn from a high-tech system that works to bridge a growing skills gap.

Ron Nilson: Oklahoma kind of leads the country of understanding the importance of career and technical education.

Andy: An understanding that Nilson says provides dramatic results when it comes to employment rates.

Nilson: When you see something that has matured and is working every single day that has the statistics where you have 3.5 to 5 percent unemployment rates – when the rest of the country has 7, 8, 9, 10 percent. And you say why do we have one? Well, we have people with master’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees who can’t find a job. Well, because they don’t have no skill, they got an education.

Andy: And Poole says the success CareerTech offers wouldn’t be possible without input from the companies they train for.

Pool: Input from business and industry is crucial, and if you look around the state, what you find is, all of our full-time programs work with business and industry, and they have what they call advisory committees. And those companies come in, look at the curriculum, look at the equipment, look at exactly what’s being trained. And then that’s how we develop that curriculum to put that next generation out there.

Andy: And one of those businesses involved with CareerTech – Bennett Steel in Sapulpa. Owner Dave Bennett says he needs people with the right skills.

Dave Bennett: What we’re looking for is the basic skills – welding, CNC operators -- and CareerTech has that kind of training. They’re a good source of employment, a good source of training, very helpful in getting the right kind of people for our type of work.

Andy: And aside from the welding and metal work training, Bennett says CareerTech sends him workers fully trained in safety.

Bennett: Safety is the No. 1 priority anymore in any job -- having the classes – first-aid training, CPR, OSHA training and different things like that for my company.

Andy: And while industry skills are vital for employers, Poole says soft skills are also key when finding the right worker.

Pool: Different generations come through. You see right now a generation that wants to have that immediate gratification and be able to go out and get some sort of degree and then be able to be the president of a company. But a lot of times they don’t understand what it really means to show up every day and to be on time and to have really good work ethic. And that’s one thing that CareerTech does a really good job of instilling within them is if you want to have a great job -- and there’s wonderful jobs out there -- you need to know how to treat it and you need to know treat others and you need to know what’s expected of you. So being able to meet those high expectations and having those skills to provide that quality in the type of things that you’re gonna be able to see out in business and industry make those companies want to hire CareerTech graduates.

Andy: And because CareerTech prepares its students for jobs in Oklahoma --

Pool: -- those jobs are staying in the state. And one thing CareerTech also does well is look at the placement of their students and that high percentage. So not only are we looking at the retention and the number of them graduating. I know currently at Central Tech, we’ve had a 95 percent placement rate.

Andy: Creating a job for every Oklahoman and a workforce for every company.

Andy: Now, Nilson also said that he hopes to learn how to incorporate more business and industry into Idaho’s education system. And he also encourages others to do the same.

Rob: All right. Thank you so much, Andy.

Andy: You’re welcome, Rob.