State Senator Kevin Easley is asking Governor Keating to identify a mystery CEO who reportedly told the state chief executive that Oklahoma college graduates aren't making the grade when it comes to job skills.
During an interview on KRMG Radio in Tulsa last week, the Governor recounted a recent conversation with a person he identified only as a "CEO of a Fortune 500 company." According to Governor Keating, the CEO told him that the majority of Oklahoma college graduates could not pass the employment test required to work for his company.
In a letter to the Governor, Senator Easley asked him to identify the CEO so state leaders can learn more about the alleged deficiencies of its state colleges and universities.
"I'd like to talk to the CEO and get more information about the concerns he has about our higher education system. If the graduates produced by our state colleges and universities aren't making the grade, we need to do something about it," said Senator Easley.
"I'm not aware of any specific problems with the quality of our college graduates, but if he has a story to tell, I'm certainly willing to listen."
After talking to the CEO, Senator Easley said he would like to set up a meeting that would allow the mystery business official to share his concerns with state college and university presidents, such as OU's David Boren and OSU's James Halligan.
"I think it would be helpful for him to meet with our university presidents face to face and discuss his concerns. It's important to try and correct any problems that businesses may be having with our college graduates," said Senator Easley.
This isn't the first time Governor Keating has attributed negative statements about Oklahoma's labor force to unidentified business leaders.
Last year, the Governor came under fire when he claimed that a businessman told him that most of the prospective employees in southeastern Oklahoma were either on drugs or illiterate. Governor Keating never identified the mystery businessman, prompting many to question whether such a person actually existed.
"I believe the Governor is telling the truth, but I guess people won't know for sure until he identifies the CEO in question. The mystery businessman has made some serious charges about the quality of our college graduates and I think it's important that we look into them," said Senator Easley.