Report Shows Strengths, Weaknesses Of Tulsa's Workforce
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Tulsa economy is booming according to a recent study into the regional workforce. It shows we have more jobs than the national average, but it also found some legitimate weaknesses.
The report is more than 100 pages and talks about everything from the Tulsa neighborhoods that have plenty of jobs but nobody seems to be taking them, to the major industries that are growing.
Joe Tallon, 18, finished high school early so he could get a jump on his welding career.
“I’m the first one, actually, to not go to college because this is a career that is obviously taking off, lots of potential, and it’s not going to slow down any time soon,” Tallon said.
Advanced manufacturing, which Tallon will soon be a pro at, is in the top spot as far as growing Tulsa industries. In the next five years alone, Tulsa is expected to have 2,000 jobs available in the field.
That, however, also presents a problem. According to the report, there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill the positions.
“You don’t have near the people getting into the welding industry as those retiring and getting out of it,” said 4 M Welding Owner, Gene Norwood. “That’s why the young kids can make so much money welding, probably a lot more than the average college kid, within two or three months.”
The intense six month study also dissected the city by neighborhood.
In north Tulsa, the report says there are enough jobs available in professional services and health care, but the shows nobody seems to want them. In east Tulsa, most jobs are in aviation, but many of the people living in the area work somewhere else. In west Tulsa a heavy manufacturing neighborhood has the highest job growth and the highest unemployment rate.
Now the city, along with schools like Tulsa Tech, is all about showing Tulsans that the training opportunities are here, but the question is, are they working?
Consultant, Joel Simon, said, "Do we trip over each another? Are we dividing resources in a way that makes it less efficient? So, your greatest strength is your greatest challenge as well.”
The report also said the region needs to look at transportation to help people more easily work near where they live.
It’s going to take money and community support, so the chamber is now looking towards regional funding and philanthropic support.