Oklahoma is emerging as a leader in setting occupational standards for internships. The state is meeting the needs of job seekers, employees, employers, and educators by better organizing internship activities, and the new emphasis holds great potential for fueling a more prosperous future by forging a better-skilled workforce.


In 2018, the state’s Legislature created a Work-Based Learning Program to be administered by the Governor’s Council on Workforce and Economic Development. The program is designed to coordinate work-based learning opportunities and set minimum competency skills standards for equality and fair access, among other provisions.


Internships are a major component of the work-based learning emphasis in Oklahoma. Thomas P. Miller & Associates was asked to lead the process of bringing consistency to internship programs across the state. Better-defined occupational standards and widespread employer cooperation can increase confidence in internship experiences for all parties involved and result in higher participation, which will result in a skilled workforce.


TPMA will consult approximately 60 education and employer partners, then write consistent occupational internship model standards, enabling educators and employers to better prepare students in industry competency skills the job requires. The employer-driven standards initially involve Oklahoma’s top five industries: insurance, bioscience, aerospace, transportation and warehouse logistics, and information technology.


Thomas P. Miller & Associates is also assisting Oklahoma with a second provision of the legislation. The statute requires organizations wanting to participate in the Work-Based Learning Program to file an annual certificate with the state. Employers that offer work-based learning, including internships, register through an online portal, and TPMA is recommending an incentive structure and package to increase participation in the program.


Internships and work-based learning drives to the deepest core of TPMA expertise. Our cross-disciplinary skills have played key roles in assisting organizations start, expand and up-skill their workforces. Let’s talk about your needs.