Oklahoma continues to rack up the wins, and it’s no surprise why. The state consistently boasts one of the lowest costs of doing business in the country. Major metropolitan areas like Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Lawton receive accolade after accolade for everything from best place to start a business and quality of life opportunities.
Oklahoma offers distinct advantages to businesses seeking to relocate or expand, including a low cost of living, a state government determined to support businesses and to grow the labor force, a regulatory climate that is both responsible and reasonable, and an educated, flexible and committed workforce. Governor Mary Fallin has made it a key priority to give Oklahomans a better quality of life, primarily by creating jobs and strengthening the economy.
“Oklahoma truly is the land of opportunity. If you want to work for a world-renowned corporation, you can do that here. If you want to live in a bustling urban center, you can do that here. If you have always dreamed of starting a company, you can start one here,” she said. “And you can do it in a state that’s as friendly to businesses as it is to people.”
More than Expected
Traditional energy is often top-of-mind when thinking about Oklahoma, and while that may have been one of the leading industries to start, the state has much more to offer. Industries like aerospace and defense, agriculture and bioscience, information and finance, manufacturing, and transportation and distribution have emerged to lead the state to a diverse economy.
More than 120 businesses announced new Oklahoma locations or expansions in 2014. Combined, these companies expect to create nearly 13,000 new direct jobs and invest more than $4 billion in new construction, machinery and equipment. More than 100 of these companies are already located in Oklahoma and are expanding in the state because they recognize Oklahoma’s location advantages and are recommitting to the state. The remaining companies are new locations of businesses in the state seeking to create a competitive advantage in their industry or expanding into new markets that Oklahoma is uniquely qualified to address. And the announcements keep rolling in. As of Oct. 1, 2015, more than 90 businesses have announced new Oklahoma locations or expansions in 2015.
“At the end of the day, businesses are looking to keep as much of their money as they can without having to spend it on taxes, labor costs or lawsuits,” said Deby Snodgrass, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism and Executive Director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. “Oklahoma offers that kind of environment.”
Photo Caption: In July, Boeing broke ground on a new laboratory facility in Oklahoma City. Mayor Mick Cornett, Commissioner Brian Maughan, President of Boeing Global Services and Support Leanne Caret, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Boeing Oklahoma City Site Director Jeb Boatman pushed an E-6B aircraft throttle forward symbolizing the groundbreaking of the new facility.
Boeing | 800 New Jobs | $80 million investment
“We see a bright horizon for the aircraft sustainment business because of the highly trained and motivated workforce we have in Oklahoma City. Expanding our presence and bringing AM&S headquarters here continues a trend of combining Oklahoma’s home-grown talent with the best of the enterprise to support some of our customers’ most critical missions.” – Leanne Caret, Global Services & Support President, Boeing
Photo Caption: The new Macy’s-Bloomingdale’s Fulfillment Center in Owasso, Okla., is the largest of its kind in the world for Macy’s and will house more than 2,500 full, part-time and holiday employees.
Macy’s Inc. | 1,500 New Jobs | $170 million investment
“You all [Oklahomans] work together so incredibly collaboratively. It’s really quite unique. And that doesn’t happen in every state and every community. And that’s why we’re here. We had lots of choices. But it really comes down to what’s the right choice? What’s the right atmosphere? Who is pro-business, and where can we hire the best people?” – Terry Lundgren, Chairman & CEO, Macy’s Inc.
Commercial Metals Company | 300 New Jobs | $250 million investment
“The location of the mill in Durant, Oklahoma, 80 miles north of Dallas, will allow us to better serve a growing North Texas market as well as expand into markets in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas and Missouri. The facility will produce low cost, high quality steel products, which will complement our existing manufacturing capability to better serve our customers.” – Joe Alvarado, Chairman, President & CEO, CMC
Major corporate facility expansion projects dot the state’s landscape:
- Hobby Lobby, a big box retail giant in the craft and home décor sector built a new 1.9-million-sq.-ft distribution center, bringing the total number of employed in Oklahoma to more than 4,000.
- Silver-Line Plastics Corp., an industry-leading manufacturer of plastic pipe products, is doubling the size of its Lawton, Okla., facility, investing $10 million over the next five years to grow the facility to 150,000-square-feet.
- Asco Aerospace, Belgian-headquartered aerospace manufacturer, celebrated the company’s 60th anniversary with the expansion of its Stillwater, Okla. facility. The 715,000-square-foot facility employs more than 100 people.
Photo Caption: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin greets Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby in Ada, Okla., at one of several Oklahoma Works meetings held statewide
A Workforce for Now, A Talent Pipeline for the Future
Oklahoma’s extensive education system, business development team and workforce organizations work together to ensure businesses have access to a pipeline of talent to get started and keep going.
“Working with various advisory boards, we develop training on the credit and non-credit side to ensure that we are meeting identified industry needs,” says Robin Roberts Krieger, vice president of business and industry training & economic development at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. “We also work with specific business partners to run cohorts of their employees through our degree programs. This benefits both the students and the employer by the efficiencies gained by these cohorts.”
Every business is different. That’s why Oklahoma offers flexible programs to meet company’s needs. Whether it’s a new or expanding company in the state, Oklahoma’s nationally-acclaimed Training for Industry Program (TIP) helps develop the necessary, quality, trained workforce, all at little or no cost to the company. TIP is delivered through Oklahoma’s system of 59 technology center campuses across the state. Some of the services provided under TIP include job analysis, training needs assessment, pre-employment training, pre-production training, post-production training, instructional materials and development, training supplies, and more.
“Oklahoma has a remarkable workforce; a supportive, stable political environment; and an excellent quality of life our employees appreciate,” said Steve Hendrickson, Director of Government Operations, Boeing. “These elements, among others, are taken into consideration when decisions are made regarding facilities or staffing needs … The tax credit is an invaluable tool in the attraction and retention of employees with skills critical to the success of our customers, and to the health and viability of the industry as a whole.”
Photo Caption: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin participates in a panel presenting “Oklahoma Works,” the governor’s education and workforce development program.
Gov. Fallin is committed to connecting employers, employees and job seekers. Oklahoma Works, an initiative Gov. Fallin launched in early 2015, brings the state’s workforce resources together. The program is designed to help the state better understand the skills gaps employers face and finding solutions for closing those gaps.
“One of our qualifiers in locating to Oklahoma was the university network with the customer proximity and a mentality that understands oil and gas development,” said Mike Ming, General Manager, GE Global Research Oil & Gas Technology Center. “Finding a workforce that understands both of those things is really critical to us.”
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