In January, 2014 the Tulsa Regional Chamber worked with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and Avalanche Consulting to conduct a 24-week workforce alignment strategy for the Tulsa region. This research expanded on the Tulsa’s Future II economic development plan, which identified seven industries expecting high regional growth, and outlined a number of strategies for workforce and education alignment to strengthen the regional talent development system.
Career pathways offer a tool for addressing one of these strategies: better career awareness for all area residents. The pathways provide area residents with accessible information around in-demand industry sectors and occupations in the region, including the skills and credentials required to enter and advance in an industry; a high-level view of the paths individuals can follow to develop a career that best fits their interests, skills and needs; and an idea of the credentials and education they’ll need to move along that path and make informed decisions in planning out their future.
CAEL began by working with the Tulsa Regional Chamber and its industry stakeholders to identify the most common and in-demand occupations within each of the seven regional industry sectors, as well as in two additional sectors (construction and hospitality) identified specifically for this project as areas of high need for traditionally hard-to-serve populations. After collecting national, regional and local information around the basic tasks, education, credentials and knowledge/skills required for each occupation, regional industry employers were asked to validate this information based on their own hiring experience. They were also asked to provide an average salary range for employees in these positions and indicate any positions -- both within the same industry and in others -- that employees can transfer into.
Using this information, the occupations for each sector were grouped into three levels based on the credentials/experience they required, and their potential pay:
1. Entry Level: These positions are the best entry points into a sector for an individual with little experience or education as they typically require only a HS diploma (occasionally a certification or minimal vocational training) and little to no prior related work experience.
2. Mid-Level: While these positions pay more than those at the entry level, they also involve more skilled work, requiring greater education—anywhere from vocational training (or certifications) to a 4-year bachelor’s degree—and some level of related work experience.
3. Senior Level: These positions are typically high-level management positions and require significant education (typically a 4-year bachelor’s or graduate degree) and extensive experience in the industry.
This information was also used to map out connections and paths between individual occupations within and across industry sectors. For each occupation, any paths to other occupations are either one of two types:
1. Lateral, meaning an individual can transfer into that occupation without signi cant extra education or experience. Often the average salaries are similar.
2. Promotional, meaning an individual will need additional education or industry-related work experience to move up. This typically involves an increase in average salary.