Every small town faces the contradiction of young people saying “there are no jobs here” while business say “we can’t find good people.” My friend Kat Long from Ponca City, Oklahoma, sent this story of what they are doing to connect young people with the jobs that already exist in town and introducing girls to careers they would not normally pay attention to. –Becky
Wanted to let you know about a “grow your own” girls camp Ponca City we have started in relation to workforce training and retention. As you know, many companies struggle to find the “right fit” for their workforce needs. This workforce crunch is one of the main issues facing economic development offices as well as Chambers of Commerce and any organization involved in business retention or expansion for towns, cities and regions.
This Girl Power Day Camp (Think Like a Girl) is for middle school girls and introduces them to potential career paths in manufacturing industries and especially jobs available in Ponca City. Girls are often overlooked for many of these types of industry and higher wage positions. To better facilitate growing the next generation of skilled and education workers, PoncaWorks Director Sarah Linn has recruited working women from the community to be “Camp Counselors” through the week and work with the campers on basic skills needed, tour them through several companies, do some fun things to let them discover the joy in making things and hopefully help them see the possibilities for their future. Partners for this event include Pioneer Tech, all the participating companies, PCDA and the school district and would not be possible without their assistance. The 19 Girl Power! girls are touring seven local manufacturers, the Ponca City Medical Center, a construction company and Pioneer Technology Center to showcase available jobs in the community as well as programs available at the career tech the week of July 13-17th.
I have shared pictures of the girls touring Lindsay Manufacturing, Head Country BBQ and a close up of one of the activities where the girls compete in teams to design, manufacture and make money on a budget: great learning experience as well as the opportunity to see how they work together. We are really proud of this camp as we continue to align our students, education and industries to better “Grow Our Own” here in Ponca City.
Small Biz/Information Manager
Ponca City Development Authority