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UCO Customized Education Aims to Build 'Soft Skills' through Workforce Advantage Program

Oct. 31, 2016

Media Contact: Sarah Neese, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, UCO University Communications, 405-974-2121,


The University of Central Oklahoma’s Customized Education will launch its Workforce Advantage Certificate program Nov. 10 at UCO Downtown, located on the lower level of the Carnegie Centre, 131 Dean A. McGee Ave. in downtown Oklahoma City.

The Workforce Advantage Certificate is a unique, university-backed program that aims to combat a growing lack of soft skills in the workforce and will cover topics such as professional communication, business etiquette and reputation management.

The new certificate program is offered in partnership with the State Chamber of Oklahoma and is a result of Governor Mary Fallin’s “Oklahoma Works” initiative, a coalition of state agencies, educational institutions, businesses and other partners working to increase the overall wealth of Oklahomans by improving employment quality and the number and availability of skilled employees in the state.

In a 2016 report, the Society of Human Resource Management concluded that, during the last 12 months, 84 percent of human resources professionals in various industries saw a shortage of soft skills among job applicants, while the demand for employees with soft skills increased. Additionally, Key Economic Networks led a series of meetings, during which leaders, business executives and hiring managers across the state voiced their concerns about their personnel’s lack of soft skills.

“Simply taking the chance to hire another employee is no longer a viable solution,” said Karen Youngblood, executive director for Customized Education.

“The workforce must be developed. Rather than spending up to 150 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace them, business leaders can transform their employees into polished professionals who are valuable assets to their organizations.”

The Workforce Advantage Certificate comes with a lifetime guarantee, and students will attend the program for one and a half days each month to complete the certificate in less than 90 days.

To register or learn more about the program, visit or call 405-974-3030.