When lawmakers discuss ways to develop the skills of Oklahoma’s future workforce, the conversation tends to center on high school and college students. But many of those students’ parents will also be members of tomorrow’s workforce who are in need of training, said Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Workforce Development Norma Noble.
“Two-thirds of the U.S. workforce in 2020 will be comprised of adults who are currently working,” Noble told a legislative committee last week. “We need to adequately educate and train all of our citizens for new types of work.”
Today, the numbers are stacked against Oklahoma regarding skilled labor. Oklahoma has a relatively small population, and the state’s workforce can’t afford to lose the three out of every 10 high school students who won’t graduate from high school. Another three of every 10 high school students will graduate without the skills they need to compete in higher education or in the workplace, said Noble.
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