- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A recent report says that Oklahoma schools are only producing about half of the workers needed to fill high-skilled jobs within the state.

According to a report by the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, only 33 percent of the state’s working-age adults hold two- or four-year college degrees and that more than 500,000 Oklahoma jobs could go unfilled by 2020.

The report says that 40 percent of college-bound high school graduates in the state have to take at least one remedial class in college. According to the report, only 4,319 of 50,220 Oklahoma children who entered kindergarten in 2000 will likely complete college in four years.

Chuck Mills, owner of Mills Machine Co. and a member of the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development, says that report’s findings are “disturbing.”

“In my opinion they’re not being properly prepared with the skills needed to be successful in the workforce,” said Mills.

State schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the report highlighted challenged that educators face when trying to prepare Oklahoma students for 21-st century jobs.

“We need a multifaceted approach that includes emphasizing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) instruction and forward-thinking initiatives such as Governor Fallin’s ‘Oklahoma Works’ program,” she said.

According to Mills, the challenge of filling jobs has been exacerbated by the increase in people retiring. “It’s leaving a void of skilled workers,” he said.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/19MlIAr ) says the report was paid for by the Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative, an education nonprofit started by the State Chamber of Oklahoma to help better engage the business community in education issues.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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