Workforce Development in Texoma

Addressing the challenges of a global economy requires a shift away from traditional economic development models. Instead of low-wage rates and tax incentives, regions in industrialized countries compete today on the quality of their skilled workforce and incentives that reward

Workforce development is usually tied closely to educational attainment and communication and collaboration between workforce/education organizations, economic development organizations, and the private sector, resource allocation, and effectiveness of service delivery. The development of skills necessary to fill high wage jobs is critical to the continued economic development efforts in the region, especially as our region experiences changes in labor market demands.


Schools educate and prepare the future workforce for the region. Youth who do not aspire to higher education and who lack career training opportunities are lost to a cycle of poverty that will envelope their families and children and continued to be repeated in their children. The region’s public schools, colleges, and workforce boards provide education opportunities for Texoma residents to gain skills and training necessary to enter the labor force.

Educational Attainment

Educational attainment is an indicator commonly used to measure the average skills of the local labor force. The percentage of Texoma residents who have at least a high school diploma falls in between the averages for the state of Texas and the nation, which are 79.2 percent and 84.5 percent respectively. Although the figures for the number of residents with some college experience are relatively consistent with other regions, Texoma lags behind in percent of the population who have completed a bachelor’s degree. This is important to note as economic development practitioners and local officials court industries and jobs that require additional education and training such as the teaching field and high-tech industry.

2008 % With at Least High School Diploma % With Bachelor’s Degree or Higher

Source: American Community Survey

Cooke 82.9 19.8
Fannin 80.8 14.7
Grayson 84.1 18.4
Texas 79.2 25.1
US 84.5 27.4

Skill Needs for Available, Critical, and Projected Jobs

As part of their strategic planning, Workforce Solutions Texoma (WST) has constructed a list of workforce skills most commonly identified by employers as being important.

WST used their Demand Occupations List as a starting point and developed a list of needed skills using O*NET. For each occupation it classifies, O*NET provides a standard list of skills and gives each of those skills a score. This score represents how important it is to that demand occupation. The importance scores for all the occupations on the list were recorded, and then averaged.

As a second measure, WST compared the O*NET scores with the targets skills of Business Education for Teachers. Workforce Texoma participates annually in a project called Business Education for Teachers (BET). This project places teachers in local worksites each summer, and then requires them to do curriculum development in order to ensure they take what they have learned about employer needs back into the classroom. One component of the project is a comprehensive list of necessary skills developed by the teachers. Skills with the highest average level of importance in the O*NET study were compared with this list in order to validate the results.

Skill Identified Locally
Skill Identified Locally
Reading Comprehension
Active Listening
Critical Thinking
Active Learning
Equipment Selection
Learning Strategies
Time Management
Judgment & Decision Making
Complex Problem Solving
Social Perceptiveness
Quality Control Analysis
Service Orientation
Equipment Maintenance

Key Trends

Texoma is in the midst of a transition away from the traditional economic development model that targets manufacturing as the primary source of industry and employment. This is largely due to the fact that communities in Texoma are experiencing a major decline in manufacturing growth and expansion.

2000 2006 Change
Super Sector Title
# of Workers
% of Labor Force
# of Workers
% of Labor Force
# of Workers
% of Labor Force
Natural Resources & Mining
583 1% 1,501 2% 918 1%
3,433 6% 3,719 6% 286 0%
12,852 21% 9,336 15% (3,516) -6%
Trade, Transportation, & Utilities
11,834 19% 11,903 19% 69 0%
663 1% 635 1% (28) 0%
Financial Activities
3,654 6% 3,536 6% (118) 0%
Professional & Business Services
3,428 6% 3,330 5% (98) 0%
Education & Health Sciences
14,970 24% 16,543 27% 1,573 3%
Leisure & Hospitality
5,093 8% 5,854 9% 761 1%
Other Services
1,252 2% 1,442 2% 190 0%
3,869 6% 3,926 6% 57 0%

The 2007-2012 Texoma CEDS affirmed the goal of promoting Lake Texoma as a tourism destination and support region’s associated tourist destinations such as historic sites and heritage sites and state parks and refuges. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Texoma attracts more than six million visitors a year and generates millions of dollars in tax revenue through associated spending in recreation activities, retail purchases, accommodations, and food service. The table above indicates that Texoma already has a slight competitive advantage in leisure & hospitality.

Rather than reactively addressing the region’s losses in manufacturing, area leaders have discussed ways to capitalize on assets in Texoma. The leisure & hospitality captures many aspects of tourism in the broadest sense. Tourism has been identified repeatedly as a largely untapped and source of economic growth and diversification, from utilizing the region’s unique cultural, ecological, and historical sites. Leaders in Texoma have turned their focus to explore the feasibility of developing a bi-state regional brand for Texoma that markets the tourism assets of Texoma.

With the new world-class casinos of the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, the steady attraction of Lake Texoma, and the growth of the DFW Metroplex and Oklahoma City, the Texoma region is in the ideal location for living, working, and playing. Attracting visitors, new residents, and even new business to this region through a coordinated marketing effort will generate revenues for all of Texoma’s communities and attractions.