Oklahoma Marriage Initiative: An Overview of the Longest-Running Statewide Marriage Initiative in the U.S.: Research Brief. Building Demand for Relationship Skills Education


Training Agency Staff to Make Referrals. Because marriage and relationship skills education are not widely known among the general population, the OMI has worked to promote demand for OMI workshops by training staff at public agencies to make referrals. The training helps staff, such as TANF caseworkers, understand PREP workshops as well as the goals and purpose of the OMI. In its early years, the OMI conducted large training sessions involving individuals from a wide variety of agencies, however they noted that staff sometimes had different concerns and needs, depending on the culture of their individual agencies. The OMI addressed this issue by tailoring the training to the needs and concerns of specific agency staff and by shifting to agency-specific presentations.

Stimulating and Coordinating Community Events. Many OMI activities that support service delivery tend to create interest among the public in relationship skills education. To further stimulate this demand, the OMI also coordinates various types of community-level events such as Sweethearts Weekends. These events often provide a shortened version of PREP at one sitting, and are designed to increase the visibility of the OMI, increase awareness of the availability of relationship skills education, and stimulate interest in attending full PREP workshops.

Creating Public Awareness. To create further awareness of the value of marriage education and the availability of services, OMI staff frequently make in-person presentations at local community organizations and at public agencies. Staff also enlist the assistance of media, generate publicity for community events, and operate a website where individuals can learn information about marriage and access information about OMI services.

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