Finding, recruiting, and keeping good workforce is an issue in our economy. This is especially an issue if your company needs skilled tradesmen. Since 2008, according to a Harvard study on the subject, the amount of skilled workforce that we have has dipped below the number of jobs that we need to fill. It is a problem that will only increase in our future. Oklahoma Works, a state funded program created to help solve these issues released a report that by the year 2025, 53% of our statewide jobs will require an associates degree or a certification (ie, skilled trades.)

This is not news to all of you who own or run companies. You who go through applicant after applicant in search of the one that can do the jobs that you need done. You want someone not only with the skills needed, but also someone that shows pride in workmanship, can show up every day on time, and someone who can just pass a drug test!

We at Ponca Works have listened to these problems since our creation in 2012. We have worked with local industry to recruit workforce with our job fairs and our website job postings, retain our good workforce through programs like Ponca Young Employees, and grow our own through working with our school systems. There have been some tremendous things that have happened because of these programs, and we hope that you have been the beneficiary, so that we don’t have to toot our own horn.

It is now time for our next move. Ponca Works is a great advocate for all our local companies. We can speak to a local community group about the basics of your company, we can speak to students at Po-Hi about job opportunities in local industries or we can speak to you about your workforce issues. But we are not on your shop floors doing your welding projects or on your CNC machines. We aren’t in your accounting offices sending invoices and we aren’t on your sales team making your sales. We believe the people that should be telling your story are your own hardworking employees that live and breathe your business. We need your ambassadors.

Our vision for this program is multi-faceted. We would like to get your younger workforce, especially those skilled in trades or STEM careers, involved in telling their career story to younger generations (your potential workforce). Your younger employees will be able to convey their experiences differently than the old stereotype of coming home tired and dirty from a long day at the plant. Your potential workforce will better relate to your younger employees, who can show off a new truck paid for by a career some students have never considered. Your younger employees can help redefine the jobs your company offers to your potential workers.

We’d love to let your ambassadors tell your story. We’d like to add these ambassadors to our call list and utilize their storytelling skills as their schedules permit, whether it be making a presentation in a classroom, leading a tour of your facilities, or participating in a career fair. All participation is on an as able basis based on how often you’d like them to be involved in workforce recruitment.