Editor’s note: Sarah Miller a Chicago-based consultant on the Tulsa region’s expansive Workforce Analysis Project, which is seeking to gauge the state of the region’s workforce and draft a plan that will improve training opportunities throughout the area.
Last month was the first time that I’ve been to Tulsa and Oklahoma; I truly didn’t know what to expect. As a consultant with CAEL, in this case working with our partners Avalanche Consulting on the Workforce Analysis Project through the Tulsa Regional Chamber, I often travel to new locations with new clients and new projects. I always look forward to checking out a new city, talking with education and training leadership, meeting with employers and learning about the great things going on in a specific region.
I was blown away by all the momentum, energy and passion exhibited by everyone we had the pleasure of meeting. It’s not every day that I’m blessed to work with a client, and in this case meet with actual residents who are as concerned about ensuring education and training opportunities are available and lead to sustainable careers as I am. Tulsa was far and beyond what I expected. Wonderful people, wonderful work already being done. Did I mention wonderful food, too?? SMOKE. on Cherry Street will be a consulting team favorite!
During our kick-off week in Tulsa the Chamber was able to set up neighborhood meetings for the consulting team to get familiar with the areas and the challenges and opportunities in each. I was at the East Tulsa meeting at Martin Library and met with a number of different folks from the neighborhood. While there are some great opportunities in the neighborhood in terms of employment, there were certainly some concerns – mainly around the lack of education offerings centered squarely in East Tulsa and the need for bi-lingual teachers and counselors. It was noted that roughly 27 different cultures and languages make up the population in East Tulsa. It is no small task to ensure that each group is aware of the opportunities for job and career availability, career development and education access.
Our goal through this project is to better understand the specific barriers in the East, West and North Tulsa neighborhoods. We hope to continue neighborhood based engagements, like the ones last week, to learn more from the people that live and work in these areas. When these meetings occur during this project please come and help us to learn how we can better align efforts that will enhance opportunities that get people the right education that leads to a strong career.