Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Manufacturing Companies Face Shortage of Qualified Workers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Manufacturing Companies Face Shortage of Qualified Workers

Article excerpt

State manufacturing companies face a shortage of skilled workers to fill job vacancies.

Manufacturers statewide are experiencing a shortage of qualified job seekers, but the problem appears to be the greatest for small- and medium-size companies, said Roy Cail, executive director of the Economic Development and Training Center at Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee.

"In northeast Oklahoma, manufacturing companies are turning down work each week because of a lack of qualified workers," he said.

Manufacturers across the state are experiencing shortages, said Roy Peters, president of the Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacturing Excellence.

"We're seeing manufacturers resort to some pretty creative solutions," Peters said. "The bottom line is that we need more young people and adults who are interested in manufacturing careers and who will enroll in training programs."

When Oklahoma manufacturing companies turn down sales, the jobs are sent to other states or out of the country, Cail said.

"That is not a good thing," he said. "For every day we have shortages, there are less revenue dollars coming into the state."

Part of the problem is a lack of interest in manufacturing jobs.

"A lot of students do not consider manufacturing as an option when they get out of school," Cail said. "We encourage people to consider it as a career, not just a job."

The Economic Development and Training Center at OSU-Okmulgee works with the Northeast Oklahoma Manufacturers Council, which has about 170 members. Cail is also executive director of the council.

"We help them (the council) expand and improve their businesses," he said.

OSU-Okmulgee offers an associate's degree in applied science in manufacturing. It normally takes about two years to earn the degree.

The greatest need in northeast Oklahoma is in machining, Cail said. The school offers a six-week program to train machinists. …

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