President Pro Tempore
Senator Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa
State Capitol Room 422
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: March 11, 2014
Sen. Brian Bingman
Senate Passes Quality Workforce Act
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian
Bingman comments on Tuesday’s Senate passage of legislation
that will help match Oklahomans with jobs identified by the state
Department of Commerce as high-need occupations.
Senate Bill 1639 would create the Quality Workforce Act, which
would incentivize Oklahoma companies to pay for employees to gain
an associate’s degree or industry certificate in high-need
“We are fortunate in Oklahoma to have a low unemployment
rate, but we do have jobs sitting unfilled right now because we
don’t have enough skilled applicants available,” said
Bingman, R-Sapulpa, who is author of the bill. “This legislation
will help match Oklahomans with critical, high-paying jobs needed
in our state right now.”
Details of Senate Bill 1639:
• Companies would pay the cost of tuition and materials for
a current or potential employee to gain a certificate or degree.
After completion, and with documentation from an accredited organization
of both the certificate/degree and proof of payment, the business
would be eligible for a rebate that refunded the cost.
• Only firms that met the stringent thresholds to qualify
for Quality Jobs would be eligible. This would include factors such
as industry classification, average wage and insurance.
• Qualifying companies would be eligible for a rebate not
to exceed five percent of the average wage of their employees on
an annual basis. For example, if the average wage is $50,000, then
the company could receive a rebate of $2,500 per certificate/degree
completed. The amount would be fiscally neutral as the newly certified
employee will have increased production capacity, earn a higher
wage and contribute to a positive state return.
• To incentivize companies to actively recruit and invest
in specific cohorts, a premium could be applied to the rebate amount.
For instance, a 10 percent premium could be added if the certificate/degree
is earned by someone previously on Soonercare. An additional five
percent could be added if the person is a veteran. These costs would
be offset by the reduction of public assistance that may have previously
• To assist companies in identifying and recruiting potential
candidates, www.okjobmatch.com could be expanded to provide a jobseeker
database of the specific industry jobs.
The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 45-1 and now moves to
the House for further consideration.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Bingman: (405) 521-5605