OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Mary Fallin recently thanked JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Council of Chief State School Officers for awarding Oklahoma a grant that will complement her existing Oklahoma Works Initiative goal to create a future-ready workforce. The New Skills For Youth grant will provide Oklahoma with $2 million over three years to help improve access to skills-based education and training for high-skill, well-paying careers.


“A postsecondary degree, credential or certificate is the new minimum for success in the workforce,” said Fallin. “The New Skills for Youth Grant builds on my Oklahoma Works Initiative to align education to the needs of the workforce. Through increased cooperation between business and education stakeholders, the grant will put students on a pathway to provide Oklahoma’s employers with a future-ready workforce.”


JPMorgan Chase and CCSSO used a rigorous review process with an independent advisory committee to select the states that would receive grants from the New Skills for Youth initiative, which is a $75 million, five-year global effort aimed at strengthening career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with high-skill jobs. The 10 states selected — Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin — presented the strongest plans to work with education, business and government stakeholders to create career preparedness education and training programs.


“I created Oklahoma Works to ensure our state has a relevant workforce to match the skills and training needed by business and industry,” Fallin said. “Focusing on programs that match our workers to the skills required in the sectors that drive our state’s economy helps Oklahoma succeed by recruiting and growing businesses, while providing higher wage jobs for our citizens.”


“The workforce of tomorrow will be highly specialized, requiring college degrees and industry credentials in far greater numbers than Oklahoma is currently generating,” said Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Natalie Shirley. “Through the governor’s Oklahoma Works Initiative, the state is taking serious steps to close the workforce gap, and the JP Morgan Chase New Skills for Youth Phase 2 grant will provide key funding to allow us to continue and expand this important work. I am proud that education and workforce stakeholders joined with the state Department of Education and Oklahoma’s New Skills for Youth cross-sector team to draft a winning proposal and presentation. I look forward for continued collaboration on college and career readiness projects and initiatives.”


All of the states awarded grants today were selected from the original 24 state grantees as part of the second phase of the New Skills for Youth initiative. This additional grant funding will allow the states to put into action the plans for career-readiness that they developed during the initial phase.