Of all the state statistics hurtled at Sean Kouplen, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development, two in particular make him cringe.
The first is that the state has 147,500 unfilled jobs, and the second is that Oklahoma’s labor participation rate (61%) is among the 10 worst in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That participation rate means 39% aren't actively looking for work.
“That is very, very low,” said Kouplen, chairman and CEO of Regent Bank. “Our entire focus has been around how do we fill these 147,500 jobs and how do we help these individuals that are largely on welfare or incarcerated or have drug problems.”
Here are the details on a plan to solve that.