Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tech Center Key for Expanding Enid Companies

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tech Center Key for Expanding Enid Companies

Article excerpt

Every month during the school year James W. Strate, superintendent and CEO of Autry Technology Center in Enid, meets with an executive officer network.

The 14 members of the group represent 65 percent of the jobs in Enid.

"They have a common interest," Strate said. "They serve as an advisory group for us and really provide a lot of leadership for this institution."

Autry Technology Center provides a lot of industrial training. Last year the school's business and industry center provided training for more than 26,000 individuals. The school has 20 full- time employees on the business and industry training staff.

What Strate knows from meeting with the executive officer network and from demand for worker training is that Enid has more jobs than qualified people.

"Our biggest challenge is on the business and industry side," Strate said. "We have industries that are expanding. We need people to help them expand."

Most of the members of the area labor force already have jobs. Garfield County's unemployment rate in May was 3.4 percent. Out of a countywide labor force of 32,614, 31,492 members had jobs and only 1,122 members were listed as unemployed, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

Expanding area employers are seeking workers.

With more than 1,600 employees in production facilities, a distribution center, a bakery and administration in Enid, recruiting and hiring the workforce for AdvancePierre Foods is a never-ending process.

"We are always hiring people," said Janet Byrum, director, HR operations west in Enid for AdvancePierre Foods.

AdvancePierre's screening process eliminates some job applicants. Usually three applicants are interviewed for each hourly employee hired, she said.

To fill job vacancies, the company recruits workers from other parts of Oklahoma and other states.

"We need to find ways to recruit people to this part of the state," Strate said. …

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