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Brief for Oklahoman's Business cover on Nov. 7, 2019

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Energy Consortium created

Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. has worked with other energy industry companies and state officials to create the Oklahoma Energy Workforce Consortium, it announced Wednesday.

Officials said the consortium will work with Oklahoma’s Career Tech system and its education department to encourage students to pursue careers that will meet growing demands of the energy industry.

“The energy industry is a vital component of our state’s economy. Since Oklahoma’s founding, we have led the nation in innovating efficient and affordable energy resources that has resulted in America’s energy independence,” Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt stated as part of the announcement.

“This resilience and brilliance in the energy sector makes Oklahoma an attractive state for well-paying jobs in manufacturing, accounting, research and more. With the creation of this consortium, I hope more students will be aware of the wide range of career opportunities available to them within the energy sector.”

OG&E stated its executives started the consortium by bringing together a group of electric utilities and cooperatives to discuss their workforce needs, then expanded it to include the broader energy industry after recognizing that all employers in the industry are facing similar workforce demands.

It goal is to better expose students to opportunities to fill some of Oklahoma's best-paying jobs through the establishment of a new energy industry “Career Cluster.” Career clusters are part of a national framework Oklahoma has adopted as an organizing tool for curriculum design and instruction that aims to link what students learn in school with knowledge and skills they need for success in college and careers, officials said.

The energy industry, they said, is one of Oklahoma’s largest industries in Oklahoma and expects to have a severe shortage of skilled workers by 2025.

The consortium will meet in November to develop and map out an implementation plan for the new cluster, officials said.

Staff reports