Manufacturing Alliance Develops ‘Career Pathways’ Tool |

The Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance has launched a comprehensive workforce Career Pathways tool to give employers and workers a “roadmap” for successful careers in the state’s top manufacturing occupations.

The occupations – and examples of specific career pathways within the categories – are:

  • Assembler (machine operator, assembly mechanic, CNC machinist, maintenance tech)
  • Material Handler (warehousing/shipping, machine operator, CNC machinist, maintenance tech, inventory specialist)
  • Machine Operator (CNC machinist, CNC programmer, foreman, front line supervisor)
  • CNC Machinist (CNC programmer, foreman, front line supervisor, manager, manufacturing engineer)
  • CNC Programmer (front line supervisor, manager, manufacturing engineer)
  • Maintenance Technician (foreman, electronics technician, maintenance supervisor, facilities manager, plant engineer)
  • Welder (welding team lead, welding inspector, front line supervisor, manager, welding engineer)
  • Front Line Supervisor (manager, manufacturing engineer)

The pathways tool was developed after extensive research and input from manufacturing and educational leaders across Oklahoma. The effort was led by the “Statewide Manufacturing Workforce Committee,” which consists of 35 C-suite-level manufacturing employers. The unique employer-driven committee was tasked with developing statewide solutions specifically for the manufacturing industry.

The career pathways tool is an important part of the committee’s work, helping explain and illustrate a progression of skills, competencies and education/training for eight occupations identified as key in the manufacturing sector.

A sample of the prominent manufacturing companies with representatives on the committee includes: Ditch Witch, Kimray, M-D Building Products, Valiant Artificial Lifts, Baker Hughes, PACCAR Winch, AW Bruggerman, Flexibility Concepts, OSECO, HEMSaw, United Holdings, Spiers New Technology, Tulsa Centerless Bar Processing, and Mohawk.

“We hope this tool will help people envision how these occupations are interconnected and how the progression of skills builds manufacturing careers,” said Dr. Sharon Harrison, OMA’s workforce development director. “Our goal was to visualize multiple occupations and to illustrate the necessary education, training and competencies required at each level.”

According to Harrison, the pathways tool can be used in three ways:

  • By individuals wanting to pursue or further their career in manufacturing, so they can envision a career with advancement opportunities
  • By small- and medium-sized Oklahoma manufacturers, who can utilize these pathways as a tool to attract potential employees to their company and as a career progression model in concert with their own advancement strategies
  • By workforce and education partners, who can use them as a career planning and progression tool

“The pathways were developed with extensive feedback from the Manufacturing Alliance’s Workforce Committee, which represents a diverse group of manufacturers from around the state,” said Dave Rowland, president of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance. “In addition, we gathered input from our regional workforce, education, and economic development partners to take advantage of all their career path expertise.”

Harrison added that the career pathways are designed so they can be adapted for different-sized companies. A list of education providers providing career pathway resources will be updated every six months to reflect new education programs across the state.

View the interactive career pathways on the Manufacturing Alliance website here:

For more information about the manufacturing workforce initiative, contact Harrison at