Commerce Department certifies 9 Centers for Workforce Excellence

Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 By: Journal Record Staff Source: The Journal Record

Nine Centers for Workforce Excellence have been certified in Oklahoma under the Oklahoma Works Together program.

Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Sean Kouplen made the announcement on Monday alongside members of the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development and industry leaders.

“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,” 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 identifies and certifies localized collaborations that meet and exceed superior workforce development standards as a CWE. Nine organizations completed an accreditation process based on the newly established standards and guidelines, including: Broken Arrow, led by the Broken Arrow Chamber and Economic Development Corporation; El Reno, led by the Canadian Valley Technology Center; 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 and Tulsa Ports; Tulsa, led by the Tulsa Regional Chamber; and a partnership between Tulsa and Oklahoma City led by Tulsa Community College and Rose State College.

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. Kouplen said 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 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 comprising 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.

Rose State College President Jeanie Webb

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