“Forward 50” marks end of Tulsa Tech’s first 50 years and launches next 50 years
TULSA, Okla. – Tulsa Tech honors its first 50 years since its inception as it launches its next 50 years of strategic workforce education with the Forward 50 Industry Exchange Conference on Tuesday, April 26 at its Owasso campus.
More than 175 area business leaders provided input on Tulsa Tech’s education programming in facilitated discussions with program directors.
“As Tulsa Tech is the single largest supplier of trained workforce in the Tulsa region, we continuously seek ways to ensure our programming meets the demands of industry,” Tulsa Tech Superintendent and CEO
Dr. Steve Tiger said. “Forward 50 Industry Exchange Conference is about creating a two-way dialogue between our employers and our program directors. The candid feedback of employers who hire our students or would
hire our students is critical to our long-term strategy for workforce development.”
Tulsa Tech is the oldest and largest Career Tech district in Oklahoma. Originally formed in 1965 as part of Tulsa Public Schools, Tulsa Tech became an independent school district in 1973. In fiscal year 2015, Tulsa Tech is serving more than 22,000 enrollees in corporate training programs, almost 9,500 in short-term courses, and 4,890 in its career major programs. Additionally, 917 high school students receive training from Tulsa Tech
teachers at area partner schools.
“Ultimately, our long-term strategic plan calls for a quality job for every Tulsa Tech student and a skilled workforce for every company,” Tiger said. “However, we can’t do it alone. This initiative helps strengthen our partner relationships with area educators and better aligns our program portfolio with the workforce needs in the community.”
In addition to the dialogue with employers, the conference held presentations by Oklahoma-based economist Dr. Mark Snead, president and CEO of RegionTrack, Inc., and Oklahoma’s Secretary of Education Natalie Shirley, president of Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City.
Data shared in Dr. Snead’s presentation explained the focus is increasingly on improving workers and not increasing jobs. Meaning, Tulsa Tech should now be “more focused on improving worker skills, developing and utilizing the region’s existing labor force to a greater extent, and on increasing income growth rather than job growth.”
Sec. Shirley shared research data from Gov. Mary Fallin’s Oklahoma Works initiative. Education attainment must increase a minimum of 23% in associate degrees or certified training by the year 2025. Some of the critical employment needs currently facing Oklahoma employers include: industry certifications in transportation and distribution of goods and services; licensed practical and vocational nurses; supervisors on first-line production; and HVAC and refrigeration mechanics. The critical occupation projections for associate degrees include: registered nurses; medical and clinical lab techs; electronics engineering techs; veterinary techs; and mechanical drafters. Occupations critical for bachelor’s degrees include: accountants and auditors; teachers; financial managers; and management analysts.
“As the Oklahoma economy continues to diversify we must continue to stay in tune with the needs of the business community. Tulsa Tech’s programming evolves based on the employment demands and we’re here to listen, learn and apply it in our planning,” Tiger said. “Working among and with our partners, such as area high schools, higher education providers, area Chambers of Commerce, Tulsa’s Future economic development plan and other Career Tech schools – together, we can forecast workforce needs correctly and exceed expectations of current and prospective new employers.”
Results from the facilitated discussions and adjustments to education programming will be shared with area partners after Tulsa Tech’s summer planning sessions are complete.
Presentation by Dr. Steve Tiger – Superintendent & CEO – Tulsa Tech
Economic Growth & Tulsa Tech
Presentation by Dr. Mark Snead – President & CEO – RegionTrack, Inc.
Presentation by Natalie Shirley – Oklahoma Secretary of Education & President – Oklahoma State University-OKC