Canadian Valley Technology Center is one of nine certified Centers for Workforce Excellence chosen by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
Sean Kouplen, secretary of commerce and workforce development, and members of the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development and industry leaders, announced today the certification of the nine Centers for Workforce Excellence (CWE) under the Oklahoma Works Together program.
“Governor Stitt has worked to implement his ‘Oklahoma Turnaround’ initiatives in a variety of areas,” Kouplen said. “Workforce development, recruitment and retention play an essential role in positioning Oklahoma as a Top 10 state for business, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Oklahoma Works Together establishes a local, industry-based workforce model that we can use to help existing businesses find workers and attract new industry to Oklahoma.”
Working on a local level, Oklahoma Works Together is supported by state agencies and focused on deploying resources, leveraging existing programs, and aligning curriculum with local and
regional employment demand. A CWE provides a point of contact within each identified region that serves existing and prospective employers’ workforce needs by coordinating resources and services. The program, established in late 2019, brought together groups from across the state to work hand-in-hand with business leaders, public education, higher education, economic developers, state agencies and CareerTech to devise a replicable workforce model that can be deployed statewide.
Throughout the year, an Oklahoma Workforce Committee comprised of stakeholders from throughout the state worked to identify existing state resources and developed a strategic framework that aligns workforce with the needs of business and industry.
“This framework facilitates the integration of resources within Oklahoma’s workforce and education system to ultimately launch a highly-effective and visible program that businesses can trust to support their growth and expansion,” said David Stewart, chair of the Oklahoma Workforce Committee and CEO of MidAmerica Industrial Park. “Oklahoma Works Together is a collaborative model that incorporates best practices and ensures decisions are industry-driven to meet localized workforce needs today and in the future and will be the catalyst that moves Oklahoma’s workforce to a top ten status.”
Oklahoma Works Together identifies and certifies localized collaborations which meet and exceed superior workforce development standards as a CWE. Nine organizations completed an accreditation process based on the newly established standards and guidelines:
El Reno, led by Canadian Valley Technology Center
Broken Arrow, led by the Broken Arrow Chamber and Economic Development Corporation
Duncan, led by Duncan Area Economic Development
Pryor, led by MidAmerica Industrial Park
Muskogee, led by the Port of Muskogee
Ponca City, led by Pioneer Technology Center
Rogers County, led by Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority
Tulsa Ports, Tulsa, led by the Tulsa Regional Chamber
Tulsa and Oklahoma City project, led by Tulsa Community College and Rose State College
Canadian Valley Superintendent Dr. Gayla Lutts said the school is honored and proud to be designated as a Centers of Workforce Excellence.
“Our regional advisory team and quality partners are committed to providing the support needed to continue to develop and grow a skilled workforce to meet the needs of our employers and employees,” she said. “A prepared workforce benefits the individual, business and industries, our communities and ultimately our state.”
A CWE leverages Oklahoma’s extensive secondary and post-secondary education assets with a network of employment-related agencies with proven results to benefit employers in specific industries through the following objectives:
Each CWE is data driven and designed to meet the specific need of the local economy and the predominate industry sector(s).
The CWEs are led and supported by employer groups to ensure relevance and effectiveness.
Each CWE engages all stakeholders in the process and leverages the expertise and resources to increase efficiency.
The CWEs align educational pathways from K-12, CareerTech and Higher Education providing articulation opportunities.
“A Center for Workforce Excellence is considered a one-stop-shop, but it definitely is not a one-size-fits-all for employers,” said Brent Kisling, executive director for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. “These specialized teams customize a workforce training and recruitment plan based on the labor needs of an employer and its geographical setting. Oklahoma Works Together is yet another great marketing asset for Commerce when working with businesses prospects seeking to expand or relocate.”
Stewart said Oklahoma has a robust education system that provides opportunity for all levels of workforce and career development options.
“With a statewide network of more than 100 combined campuses, Oklahoma is well-positioned to deliver training with accredited programs, custom curriculum and relevant equipment,” he said.
The Oklahoma Workforce Committee will begin a second round of Oklahoma Works Together accreditation for certification as a CWE in February 2021. For information about becoming certified as a CWE, contact Max McKnight, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, at 405-743-5573.