Higher Education , Economy , Culture & the Family
Ray Carter | March 20, 2023
Amid workforce shortage, OU touts ‘queer sexperts’
A report issued in 2019 by the Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development Strategic Plan warned that “the state is on target to experience a worker shortage of nearly 20,000 people by 2028.”
A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce similarly showed that Oklahoma had 59 available workers for every 100 open jobs.
To reduce or eliminate the anticipated worker shortage in Oklahoma, officials have often touted the importance of the state’s college system.
The Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Development report stated, “In order for Oklahoma to meet labor demands, for businesses to grow and prosper, and for Oklahomans to start businesses or succeed in wealth-generating occupations, we must understand that the new minimum for success moving forward will increasingly include education and training beyond high school, including degrees, certificates and credentials.”
Along those lines, a December budget presentation by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, which asked for $105 million in new state taxpayer funding, stated that Oklahoma colleges are focused on producing “college graduates needed to meet Oklahoma’s current and future workforce demands.”
Against that backdrop, the University of Oklahoma recently sent an email to all students informing them, “In celebration of Queer Health Week, LGBTQ+ Program is hosting a Name Change workshop for queer, trans, nonbinary, or anyone who are interested in learning more about the name change process. You will get a chance to learn from our campus expert from Student Legal Services.”
The March 20 program included a free lunch.
That same email also informed OU students that they could attend a “Queer Sexperts” program on March 21.
“We will provide you with resources, support and the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your sexual health as a member of the LGBTQ+ community,” the email stated. “FREE dinner will be provided for attendees! Spots are limited.”
The mass email also included boilerplate language following the main body of the message that distanced the university from the programs being touted to its students.
The document stated, “Approval of the form of this E-mail for distribution under the mass E-mail policy does not imply any position of the University.”
[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit AimHigherOK.com.]
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.