Students at Foyil High School participated in Oklahoma’s first statewide Career Exposure Week, an initiative to connect students and business to promote manufacturing career pathways and strengthen the future workforce pipeline.
To learn more about career options in their own backyard, Foyil students visited local manufacturer AXH air-coolers and toured its facilities. While there, students experienced the daily activities of an industrial manufacturer, as well as gained a better understanding of the various career opportunities within this key sector.
“Having access to a ready and skilled workforce is vital to the success of any business,” said Jim Simmons, operations support manager for AXH air-coolers. “Our future employees are currently in the classroom. Connecting with students allows us the opportunity to educate on the jobs available in our industry, and the skills and training needed to be successful in those careers.”
Recent information from the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development shows the Tulsa region is facing a 16 percent skills gap between the skills and education of local workforce, and what will be needed to meet workforce needs in 2025.
“The negative perceptions surrounding the manufacturing industry impede our future workforce pipeline,” said Meggie Froman-Knight, talent development manager for the Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority (CIEDA). “As our regional manufacturing entities continue to grow, it is imperative we work to change the misconceptions surrounding this vital economic sector. Initiatives, such as career awareness tours, are vital to generating interest for in-demand occupations and showcasing career opportunities.”
CIEDA is continually working to develop and foster the region’s workforce through connecting local business and educational partners. Any school or business interested in participating in an industrial tour can contact Meggie Froman-Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918.283.8240.