Chamber Seeks Ideas on Improving the Job Market - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Chamber Seeks Ideas on Improving the Job Market

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Several community agencies have partnered to figure out how to increase and improve job opportunities in three of Tulsa's economically challenged areas.

Led by the Tulsa Regional Chamber, the initiative kicked off with three simultaneous public meetings Tuesday night.

Joel Simon is spearheading the effort to understand the challenges and needs of Tulsa job seekers and employers.

He is the Vice President of CAEL, a consultant organization that will be making recommendations to the chamber and other organizations after meetings in North, East and West Tulsa.

"Our goal is to make sure that the education and training opportunities line up with the jobs, where the economy is and where the economy is going," Simon said.

He met with area residents tonight at the Rudisill Library in North Tulsa to hear their stories and concerns.

Sonya Wallace, a West Tulsa resident with strong ties to North Tulsa, told KTUL that after living in New York for 10 years, she has struggled with employment after returning To Tulsa.

Even after earning a college degree last May, she says she has had difficulty finding employment and that is why she attended tonight's meeting.

"I think there should be a program not just for the youth but to help people who are older...that have had difficulty getting work, that have stopped working or that are reentering the workforce," she said. "So that's why I am here."

"It's a drain on the economy of Tulsa. I mean, if people are not contributing, it's taking away from the city overall in financing the city," she said.

Tim Newton is very familiar with the challenges that North Tulsa faces. He is the Assistant Director of the Tulsa Dream Center, a community outreach organization that offers job training and placement.

He told us that although the job seekers he serves often lack marketable skills, it's also a matter of location.

"The problem is that most of those jobs are not located here in the community. They're located outside of the community. They have to go out west or out south or out east," he said. "So transportation becomes a really big issue for them."

Newton told us that all of Tulsa stands to benefit from the study's focus.

"It's not just a North Tulsa thing. The city as a whole would benefit by North Tulsa being at the place that it needs to be," he said.

Simon told us the process will take about four months, after which he will present his recommendations.

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