Tens Of Thousands Of Unfilled Jobs Shows Worsening Trend In Okla - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Tens Of Thousands Of Unfilled Jobs Shows Worsening Trend In Oklahoma

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[File Photo] [File Photo]
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Chamber of commerce officials call it a 'serious problem' that must be addressed. We're talking about the tens of thousands of unfilled jobs across the state; unfilled because Oklahomans lack the necessary skills.

There was a forum on this topic just on Wednesday. The Oklahoman hosted it. And the state Secretary of Education and Workforce Development, Natalie Shirley, delivered some pretty sobering news: The number of unfilled jobs in the state has jumped significantly in just the last month.

In September, Gov. Mary Fallin stated that there were 68,000 unfilled jobs in the state. Shirley says the latest data now shows that number is up to 85,000.

Officials with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce say they survey 300-plus businesses every year. And every year this is their biggest concern - lack of qualified workers. They say education systems need to adapt to the changing needs of employers.

"If you get a degree, but you can't get a job, then it means the value of that degree has gone away. So we have to continually connect the educational institutions with the employers so the educational institutions are preparing these students for after school and going to work," OKC Chamber of Commerce President, Roy Williams.

Williams says there are efforts underway to do this. He says the Chamber, the career techs, community colleges are reaching out and trying establish relationships with companies, and vice versa. But he says this is not just an Oklahoma issue, this is a problem across the country. Jobs have changed and the training needs to keep up.

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