Skilled Workforce Demand
Show 1518: Skilled Workforce Demand
Rob McClendon: Well, for Oklahoma businesses to meet new labor demands, it does take some training. And that means some tech center classes are now bursting at the seams. Joining me now is our Courtney Maye.
Courtney Maye: Well, Rob, with a growing demand for welders and skilled technicians, Caddo Kiowa Technology Center is seeing new trends in enrollment. With the number of jobs increasing, the number of students seeking training is as well.
Courtney Maye: Welders and skilled technicians are in high demand. More jobs are available than people going into the field, creating a gap that Caddo Kiowa Technology Center is working to fill.
Keith Theesen: Every year that goes by, there’ll be more and more need for welders due to the fact that older welders are retiring, and they’re quitting the welding field, and somebody’s got to be filling that welding gap. Our younger welders, almost every single one of ’em we are able to get on the job somewhere here in southwest Oklahoma.
Courtney: Keith Theesen’s students are filling jobs because of skills allowing them to receive their state welding certification.
Bobby Flynn: The first time I ever welded was in ag.
Courtney: Student Bobby Flynn says receiving his state certification will be beneficial to his career.
Flynn: It just opens more doors. Like if two people apply for a job and one has a state certification and one doesn’t, the one with state certification is gonna get hired.
Theesen: There’s been a need, a large need for skilled welders, and my primary job is to try to get state-certified welders to go into the welding field. And my students that I’ve had, they’ve had very good success rate.
Courtney: And not only is there a welding skills gap, but technicians are also in high demand. Diesel mechanics instructor James Jackson.
James Jackson: There’ll always be a need for well-trained technicians. I’ve never known a really good technician to ever look for work.
Courtney: Over the next 10 years 50,000 jobs are expected to become available, putting pressure on tech centers to produce students with advanced technical and behavioral skills.
Jackson: And I think that’s one thing we do here in CareerTech, we educate the mind and the hand.
Courtney: An education filling the need for skilled technicians.
Brian Stewart: I know that with the knowledge I’ve gained here, that anywhere I go I’ll be able to find a job, and I know that I’ll be confident in my work whenever I do get a job, that I’ll be able to perform as I’m supposed to.
Courtney: When students leave Caddo Kiowa Technology Center, they are prepared to take their state certification test, which will license them to work in the state of Oklahoma, helping bridge the skills gap.
Rob: So on average about how long does it take a student to finish one of these programs?
Courtney: The department requirements range anywhere from 180 to 1,260 hours. And the hours vary based on the skills that you want to put emphasis on. But on average, a student can finish the courses in a two-year span.
Rob: All right. Not a bad deal. Thank you so much, Court.
Courtney: You’re welcome, Rob.