Leaders in Washington should make real investments in middle class families to improve economic opportunities in Oklahoma. One of the biggest challenges is ensuring Oklahomans are equipped with skills for 21st century jobs. The Oklahoma State System for Higher Education projects 77 percent of Oklahoma jobs in 2025 will require education beyond high school, but only two in 10 high school graduates earn a postsecondary certificate or degree.
We need to close the gap between skills Oklahoma workers have and the skills needed for economy-boosting jobs. CareerTech is a model program for preparing Oklahoma adults for quality jobs, and Congress should expand opportunities for job training. Congress should also ensure adequate funding for postsecondary education other than college and university degrees -- skills learned in these programs will be essential for the future of the Oklahoma workforce.
Oklahoma workers need to earn a living wage. The federal minimum wage hasn’t been increased in nearly a decade, and workers’ pay is not keeping up with the cost of living. Congress needs to ensure middle class Oklahoma families have the opportunity to succeed, including raising the minimum wage.