OKCís CareerTech system is providing retraining opportunities during the pandemic
The negative effects of COVID-19 on employment across the nation has been staggering. Even in Oklahoma City, where job opportunity is typically robust, the job market has not been immune to the pressure of the pandemic.
“We’ve entered into relatively uncharted territory in our regional job market, due to the economic downturn and the pandemic. The fallout from these two factors have drastically changed the job landscape,” said Lee Copeland, director of talent and business growth for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “There are many displaced workers who will likely not return to the industries and jobs they left because those jobs may not exist any longer.”
Copeland said that even workers who have been able to stay with their current companies are being asked to adapt to new work environments and take on new skills.
“With the rise in remote-working, more companies are looking for talent that can be nimble enough to incorporate their skills while harnessing technology, even without prior work experience in that specific industry,” said Copeland.
To help employees or job seekers who need to pivot their skills to a new industry, Oklahoma’s expansive CareerTech system is already on the frontlines of helping retool and retrain Oklahoma’s workforce.
“The pandemic is creating chances for workers to find training that can open up new prospects for career pivots or advancement. These training and re-skill opportunities can be found with several of our regional educational partners who are innovating with training and certificate programs,” Copeland said. “These initiatives range from ‘ready-to-work’ programs in industrial training to professional development opportunities for those desiring to make themselves eligible for career advancement.”
Statewide there are 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 395 comprehensive school districts, 16 skill centers and three juvenile facilities. Not only do these centers provide training to high school and post-secondary students but they also provide invaluable training services to a variety of businesses in several different skill areas.
Below are some of the retraining programs available in the Greater Oklahoma City region. Be sure to visit www.okcareertech.org for a complete list of programs and information.
The Gordon Cooper Technology Center, located in Shawnee, is deeply committed to providing ready-to-work training. These efforts are centered on their QuickStart program that will provide a series of training and certifications centered on immediate employment.
QuickStart provides adult students with training and the opportunity for certification in OSHA10, forklift safety, CPR and AHA. These basic certifications, when packaged together, provide potential workers with a great starting place for employment. Local industries are looking for workers who have current safety training, have useable skills and who are ready to work. QuickStart provides this for both employers and potential employees.
Be READY is a program just launched by Meridian Technology in Stillwater that helps displaced workers bolster their resume with certifications and resume preparation. The course includes National Career Readiness Certificate by ACT, OSHA 10 Certification (general industry or construction), medic first aid/CPR certification, professional skills certification, job search and interview preparation.
Certificates of completion will be awarded for each course along with national certifications for OSHA 10 and the National Career Ready Certification. For students completing all three professional courses and two safety courses, an additional Be READY Certificate of Completion will be awarded.
Meridian Technology will also be launching a Certified Production Technician program in the fall. This will be a blended learning option to help develop entry-level manufacturing skills with a national certification from the Manufacturing Skills Standard Council.
Francis Tuttle has multiple locations across Oklahoma City and offers many classes that quickly help train and re-train workers for careers in advanced manufacturing, electrical, aviation and more.
One highlight is Francis Tuttle’s Industrial Maintenance Series. Most classes can be completed within 32-40 hours and give graduates an inside path to landing jobs in industrial maintenance, food production maintenance, the energy sector, building automation and more.
Francis Tuttle is also a leader in training the local aviation workforce. The technology center offers courses for aircraft electricians and sheet metal work. Recently, Francis Tuttle announced it was expanding its class offerings with composite materials and aircraft mechanical courses this fall.
All of the region’s CareerTechs offer customizable programs to help Oklahoma employers train the workforce they need today and in the future. If your business could benefit from that kind of partnership, reach out to your local CareerTech business development team for more information.