The job market is changing today according to Roger King the new superintendent at Green Country Technology Center.
Speaking to the Henryetta Rotary Club Wednesday, King, who started at Green Country in April, said “Mid-skilled level jobs doesn’t necessarily mean low wages.”
He pointed out that once a college education was needed to earn more money. “The labor market has changed. In 1960, 20 percent of jobs required a four-year degree and 60 percent were unskilled.”
That change has seen in 2018 where 33 percent of jobs need college degrees but the need for skilled technology workers has gone from 20 percent to 57 percent and only 10 percent of the jobs are for unskilled people.
King, who was campus director at Muskogee’s Indian Capitol Technology Center, said there is a, “desperate need for skilled technology workers.”
The Okmulgee-based tech center is one of 29 similar centers in Oklahoma. King said it is one of the latest in the state. “We are district number 28,” he said. “In the 1980s it changed from vo-tech to technology center.
The center offers three arms of training.
Full-time programs are for high school students and adults with 1,050 hours. Around 322 are enrolled in those programs. King said there is still a lot of room for growth.
He wants to see more adults enroll. “we have got lots of adults who have chosen the wrong path. I have seen them get the training and become productive citizens.”
Those programs include the school’s LPN and pre-nursing program, sports medicine, CNC, carpentry, digital media, drafting and heat and air.
Another area is training for business and industry. That includes safety and firefighter training and even courses customized to a particular industry. That could include forklift training.
The third area is adult career development. This would provide certification for a particular industry, skill enhancement and even hobby training.
King said Green country is looking at ways to get more involved with local schools to get students trained in a career.
“We want to train the next generation of workers.”