Are You Listening? Because we were.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act hosted a listening session for manufacturing in our area, and this is what we found out!

This week the regional board for our WIOA hosted over 30 participants in a manufacturing listening session. Over 30% of Ponca City's workforce is in the manufacturing industry. With an unemployment rate of 4.0% the biggest complaint was, obviously, lack of applicants. Other thoughts were things that Ponca Works has been aware of from working with our industries for over 6 years now, including failing drug tests, lack of soft skills, lack of math skills, lack of responsibility, etc.

As WIOA continues to be funded, they are able to offer services to help meet the needs of employers in our state. In our area, they have paid for many applicants to attend a local truck driving training, who are then hired by several of our local trucking companies. Transportation continues to be a critical job in Oklahoma, and these federal dollars are help us to shorten the skills gap in this area.

Another program that they shared with the group is the work experience program. For qualified individuals and industries, WIOA can help pay starting salaries for up to 13 weeks. It's a great way to "try before you buy." This could help with some of the work place training that is so costly when a large percentage of your workforce doesn't end up being long term.

Other programs were shared, like a service that employers can bring in for drug and alcohol counseling. Also, a program for hiring judiciary clients. The programs are funded, but the marketing proves to be an issue. Help us share the good news by called our local WIOA office, 580-765-3372, and asking Katie about all the programs that she offers!