Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance offers career advancement online tool
The Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance is now offering an online tool that provides a career advancement “road map” for manufacturing workers across the state.
OMA representatives announced the launch of its interactive Career Pathways tool in a ceremony at Progressive Stamping & Fabrication in northwest Oklahoma City.
The Career Pathways site – www.okalliance.com/workforce/career-pathways – features critical manufacturing occupations and the potential career progression workers can pursue within each area.
“Our Workforce Development Committee surveyed manufacturers across the state – small, medium and large – asking what critical occupations are you going to be hiring for over the next five years, and they gave us eight specific occupations,” said Sharon Harrison, OMA’s workforce development director.
Once the critical occupations were identified, the work-based learning subcommittee conducted focus groups for more than eight months assessing required competencies, skill progression and education providers to produce pathways that reflected industry input and needs.
“We hope this tool will help people envision how these occupations are interconnected and how the progression of skills builds manufacturing careers,” Harrison said. “Our goal was to visualize multiple occupations and to illustrate the necessary education, training and competencies required at each level.”
Manufacturers can use the Career Pathways site as a tool to recruit and retain talent for critical occupations, said Michael Grant, vice president of operations and supply chain at Perry’s Ditch Witch, which is now a subsidiary of Toro Co.
Grant was chairman of the Workforce Development Committee that identified the eight critical occupational categories for Oklahoma manufacturers.
“Being able to attract talent to the manufacturing industry is key to us,” Grant said. “It was one of the hot-button topics as we talked to industry across Oklahoma. This is another tool we can put in their hands to help them develop their workforce, keep them engaged and retain that talent.”
The Career Pathways tool was developed and launched with the aid of a grant from the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development and in partnership with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board, Harrison said.
Manufacturing companies represented on the committee includes Ditch Witch, Kimray, M-D Building Products, Valiant Artificial Lifts, Baker Hughes, PACCAR Winch, AW Bruggerman, Flexibility Concepts, OSECO, HEMSaw, United Holdings, Spiers New Technology, Tulsa Centerless Bar Processing and Mohawk.
Workforce development is an ongoing critical issue for Oklahoma manufacturers, said Dave Rowland, president of the Oklahoma Manufacturers Alliance. Career Pathways is designed as an innovative solution to showcase manufacturing jobs to attract and retain workers.
“Even in the pandemic, it is turning into a major challenge, how you interview your people, how you onboard them, how you find people and get them into the workforce,” Rowland said. “In the next few years, manufacturing will see a retirement of almost 30% of its workforce.”
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