Hundreds of local jobs have been left unfilled for years in Green Country. Businesses say they are forced to hire outside of the state because there aren't enough skilled IT workers to fill them. The News On 6's Jeffrey Smith reports experts say the job market in Tulsa is actually growing. The problem isn't demand, its supply.
Tulsa Community College says its new federal grant will try to close the gap as quickly as possible.
"There are a number of companies that have told us that even for a year they have positions that are sitting open that they cannot fill because they don't have the skilled workers to hire in our area," said Mary Philpott, TCC Dean of Workforce Development.
Philpott says a record $1.74 million grant from the U.S. government will all be used for technology training.
Businesses say that's where the demand is.
"Right now, in the Tulsa market, we're seeing a strong demand for highly skilled IT professionals," said Ambra Starr, Robert Half Consulting.
Starr says with the right training there are plenty of jobs to be had.
"What we're seeing is a lot of technical support roles, and individuals with positions that way, the more certifications they have, it's definitely an advantage to them," said Starr.
TCC has partnered with three companies that will hire the newly trained IT students: EDS, Cherokee Nation Industries and Bank of Oklahoma.
"We've been growing our IT staff significantly over the last few years, and frankly we have had look outside of the area more than we would like," said Bank of Oklahoma Vice President Don Parker.
Parker says a globalized market means he's always on the lookout for the next-generation of workers.
"In today's day and age our company competes with national players, international players, and we compete largely based on the capabilities of our technology," said Parker.
It's a fast-paced, increasingly-automated world. As technology changes, Parker says he'll be ready to hire new workers to change with it.
Parker tells The News On 6 that the fields of online banking, wireless transfers and database administrators are constantly expanding. And he says partnering with TCC to bring in new workers is a great way to give a much-needed boost to the economy.
Find more stories on NewsOn6.com's Local News page.