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Oklahoma Works 2019 Accomplishments

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Expanded and Diversified Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning

Last year, Oklahoma Works launched the State’s Work-Based Learning Program, Earn and Learn Oklahoma. This year, we continued work to expand and diversify work-based learning opportunities, including receiving $1.06 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand Registered Apprenticeship statewide. In 2019, the number of apprentices employed in Oklahoma increased 16 percent, totaling more than 1,700 apprentices and 100 programs.

Oklahoma Works also awarded $115,000 to ten employers to develop new Registered Apprenticeship Programs that build their talent pipeline, create the skilled workers they need, and develop on-ramps to high-wage, in-demand job opportunities. These awards were announced at the first annual Work-Based Learning Summit that convened 200 employers, educators and partners to equip attendees with the knowledge and skills to launch apprenticeships and internships in their organizations.

Oklahoma Works employers business services

Built Sector Partnerships to Create Strong Talent Pipelines

Oklahoma Works awarded $150,000 to workforce intermediaries to implement sector strategies aimed at developing the talent pipeline within the health care and manufacturing industries. Over the next year, these grantees will be implementing strategies to:

  • Develop a comprehensive, online Nursing Residency Program (NRP) that is employer-led. Building on previous sector partnership work, this project will address the increasing need for additional training by new nursing graduates as well as the needs of rural hospital facilities to hire and retain well-trained nurses in their struggling facilities.
  • Develop a Manufacturing Career Job Skills Matrix linked to a Career Succession Plan. This partnership includes developing career pathways that incorporate work-based learning as a critical tool for building the future manufacturing workforce.
Oklahoma Works job seekers Works Center

Joined the National Conversation on Workforce Development Strategies

In November, Oklahoma Works was one of six states selected to participate into the National Governors Association (NGA) Health Workforce Data Policy Academy. The project aims to develop strategies that provide greater information about the current and future labor pool of health care providers so that state leaders can pursue policies to support a workforce to meet the demand for health services.

This summer, Oklahoma joined 28 other states in the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) Network. This national learning network is a multi-year, multi-stakeholder initiative to assist innovative partners around the country in developing robust youth apprenticeship programs that can be scaled and replicated to connect the learning needs of high school aged youth with the talent needs of industry.

oklahomaworks policyes

Explored the Feasibility of Pay-for-Performance Contracts

Oklahoma Works began studying the feasibility of implementing a performance-based contract with the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). Formerly incarcerated individuals face many barriers to employment after leaving incarceration, contributing to the circumstances that lead many to re-offend. CEO provides employment services to formerly incarcerated individuals to ease their transition back into employment. We hope to determine if such a partnership will increase employment/job placement, improve soft skills training, increase wages, and decrease recidivism.

man using mobile smart phone

Launched a Mobile App for Jobseekers

In partnership with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, we launched an OKJobMatch mobile app as part of our efforts to improve jobseeker experiences. The app pulls thousands of job postings from OKJobMatch and gives jobseekers the tools to easily create resumes, apply to jobs, receive on-on-one support, and get funding for education and training.

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Reimagined Employer Engagement Through Business Services

This year we have heightened our focus on increasing employer engagement. This includes overhauling business services through the creation of a new strategic plan, employer toolkit, and statewide Incumbent Worker Training fund. We also launched more in-depth reporting of immediate job losses and gains, piloted a layoff aversion strategy focused on early identification of and outreach to stressed businesses, and ramped up collaboration with local and regional economic development partners.

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