Talent Dividend Work

Making the business case for college completion

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When it comes to getting a college education, citizens of metro Tulsa have myriad resources at their disposal, whether they need help financially, aren't sure how to get back to school after some time away, or want to learn more about fast-track programs and in-demand certificates.
Tulsa is also well-equipped to support employers that want to help employees finish their degrees, but aren't sure where to start. From sample tuition reimbursement programs to free promotional materials, Tulsa can make it easier for employers to make education a priority.
But how to help employers, students and community organizations connect to all of the resources available to them? That's one question Tulsa's Talent Dividend Initiative hopes to address. 
"No one really knows about all of the resources available in our community," says Denise Reid, Director of Talent Strategies and Recruitment at Tulsa Metro Chamber. "We're linking up with a number of community programs to help employers and individuals take advantage of these existing resources."
In one way, Tulsa's Talent Dividend efforts are all about spreading the word. They're telling stories about real working adults in the Tulsa community that have made the decision to go back to school through PSAs and other media outreach. And they're pointing the way to resources like finishforgreatertulsa.com that make college attainment easier for students and employers. About 86,000 adults in Tulsa have some college education and no college degree. Helping those adults earn degrees could significantly boost the region's earning power. 
One tactic Tulsa has tried has been to host "Adult Enrollment Blitzes" -- bringing together a dozen or more higher educational institutions, where students can come for a quick shop of local fast-track programs. The Tulsa Area Higher Ed Consortium can also put similar events together for employer groups.
Through building awareness about the value of investing in employee education, and by highlighting area companies that are growing their own talent, Tulsa hopes to create a culture where employers that support workforce development and higher education become employers of choice. 

In that way, Tulsa is trying to change the conversation about the value of a college education, and, by tying talent development efforts into the region's workforce, build a long-term regional commitment from partners in business and education.
"Talent Dividend has really helped us take it out of the social context and make the business case for buy-in within the Chamber and with the community at large," Reid says.

Source: Denise Reid, Tulsa Metro Chamber
Writer: Amy Elliott Bragg

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