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Autry Launches Skills Gap Awareness Efforts

Autry Launches Skills Gap Awareness Efforts

Mandy Mayberry, director of marketing, communications & recruiting, talks to students about the opportunities at Autry Tech.

(ENID, Okla.) Jan. 12, 2015 -- Northwest Oklahoma, and more specifically Garfield County, is currently affected by a skills gap. A skills gap happens when workers do not have the skills that match those needed for open jobs.

“Through our partnerships with local business and industry, our objective is to promote awareness of the local skills gap,” Superintendent Jim Strate said. “As your community workforce resource, we are here to benefit business and industry and the skilled students leaving our programs.”

One way Autry helps open up more jobs is by providing the training that will give workers in lower income jobs the skills to move up, therefore opening up those lower income jobs for more workers.

“Staffing people is our biggest problem,” Aaron Harmon, president of GEFCO, said. “In Garfield County there is such a shortage of skilled workers…machinists, welders, machine operators, mechanics.”

“What’s happening right now is that applicants out in the labor market right now do not have the skills that are necessary for the job,” Strate said. “We have to have a partnership with the public schools, starting in elementary school.”

Autry currently partners with 10 schools in Garfield County to provide free training for students.

“Awareness is the first step to fixing closing the skills gap,” Director of Communications, Marketing and Recruiting Mandy Mayberry said. “My goal as Autry’s recruiter is to visit with every graduating senior in Garfield County to make sure they know the opportunities they have in our growing community.”

Autry Technology Center recently released the first video in a new series as part of its efforts to garner awareness of the skills gap problem. The video will be posted on Autry’s website at and on its Facebook page.

The first installation introduces different perspectives from community members about what the skills gap means to them. Jim Strate, superintendent of Autry Technology Center, Aaron Harmon, president of GEFCO, Kyle Hockmeyer, Business and Industry Coordinator at Autry, and Geoffrey Washburn, a former student of Autry that went on to work for GEFCO, all offer their thoughts on the subject.

Autry Technology Center has been a part of the Enid community since 1967 and is one of 29 CareerTech schools across Oklahoma. The center has more than 25 career programs and offers a wide variety of evening and weekend short-term courses and certifications for many diverse career fields. Autry serves nearly 13,000 individuals each year, including many area employees who receive training through the Business and Industry Services Department that works with over 500 local businesses each year.

Mary Katherine Henley
Marketing Media Relations Coordinator
(580) 242-2750, Ext. 226


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