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Workforce, Workforce, Workforce

At T&I (Technology and Industry) breakfast this morning, another great program from our partners at Pioneer Technology Center, Braden and Candace Myer shared about their company M4 Construction in Tonkawa. The one thing that seems to always come up when companies speak is, of course, workforce.

The Myer's story is quite inspiring, ask them to share it with you sometime. Also, their success is admirable - mostly due to their integrity of business and unwavering work ethic. Which is what they expect of their workers.

Part of the story that the Myers told about their workforce was not at all what we expected. Braden shared about how, even though they are a small company, they wanted to incentivize great and skilled employees to work and stay with them long term. They offered a matching retirement fund and health insurance. They took responsibility for knowing that they control some of their employees job satisfaction. Even though they took 90% of the blame with employee satisfaction, the 10% they can't get over is the way that humanity's fatal flaw is complacency. This goes back to the unwavering work ethic that the Myers used and expected in return. The story of workforce, and we agree, is the story of humanity.

While we would like a cut and dry problem and solution, humanity makes it a stickier problem.The other things Braden shared were things that we expected to hear; what we have heard over and over again. How the American dream has evolved to be - go to college, get a house, get married and have babies. There is some sort of stigma among many students, and their parents, which says skilled trades are not as good as a professional job. But our aging workforce as well as the lack of skilled labor in the workforce pipeline makes this a nation wide issue.

Pioneer Technology Center is working to solve this issue with offering schooling in the trades, free of cost to students. Ponca Works is working to solve this issue with bringing the trades to light in the school system and trying to change the narrative that the students are hearing about skilled trades. You can also help to solve this issue, by offering internships and apprenticeships at your place of work, or allowing one of your millennial aged employees to be a part of our ambassador program.

Together we can be the answer to this issue, to continue to help grow the economy and workforce of Ponca City.