Community Development Division May 2006 Congratulations OWHAC Awards College graduates! Scholarships Each year the Oklahoma Weatherization and Housing Advisory Council (OWHAC) offers competitive In This Issue: educational scholarships to high school Building Community........... seniors. Students were required to submit 2-7 an essay on the importance of affordable housing for low-income people. The scholarship contest memorializes Ted Grants Awarded................. Allen and David Walker, two Housing 5-7 and Urban Development employees who lost their lives in the bombing of the Energy Page......................... Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Attending the scholarship presentation are (left to right): Commerce associate 8 Rhonda Harding-Hill; Patricia Robinson, mother of Tynisha Anderson; This year, a dozen students submitted Tynisha, scholarship recipient and Rhonda’s niece; Pam Hall, president of essays. A review committee then OWHAC; Commerce associate Steve Walker; former Commerce associate Funding Opportunities...... evaluated all the essays (with authors’ Janet Walker; Kayla Wallace, scholarship recipient; and Kayla’s parents, 9, 15 names removed). Among those selected Jennifer and Jeff Wallace. Jeff heads the State Data Center at Commerce. Not pictured is scholarship recipient Eric Walker, son of Steve (no relation to receive awards were three students to Janet Walker). related to Commerce associates: $100 to Growing Businesses.......... Eric Walker, son of Steve Walker in Administrative Services; $100 to Tynisha Anderson, niece of 11, 12 Rhonda Harding-Hill in Community Development; and $500 to Kayla Wallace, daughter of Jeff Wallace in Research and Economic Analysis. Workforce Connection..... The Oklahoma Weatherization and Housing Advisory 13, 14 Council presented the three recipients with checks during a recognition event held at the Commerce Department in late March. Fighting Poverty.................. 12, 13, 15 All three will attend universities in Oklahoma. Walker will attend Oklahoma State University; Anderson will attend Oklahoma City University; and Upcoming Events................ Wallace will attend Southern Nazarene University. 15 Pam Hall, president of OWHAC (center), presented We congratulate the honorees – along with scholarship checks to Kayla Wallace (left) and Tynisha Anderson. graduating seniors throughout Oklahoma – and wish them all the best in their educational pursuits. Transforming oklahoma one CommuniTy aT a Time Page 2 But I’ve Been to Oklahoma... A Call to Action by C.G. Herndon Oklahoma, the from such notable movies as The Mummy and Zorro, as well native frontier. as TV shows like Toonsylvania and Teenage Mutant Turtles. These are the To say he’s somewhat accomplished in his field is like voyages of saying William Shatner kinda overacts. the car ship Okiewagen. Not surprisingly, one of Kevin’s hobbies is collecting For my eighth action figures. He has 7,000 of them so far. They used to Christmas, bring inquisitive visitors to his art studio in Pauls Valley. Santa brought During one visit, he jokingly mentioned to a friend a Star Trek that he was the utility belt unofficial tourist (with phaser, communicator, and that doodad that attraction for Pauls detected life on strange planets), the bridge of the USS Valley. Enterprise (including Captain’s Chair and teleporter), and Be careful what the accompanying crew (except Lt. Uruha and Yeoman you say. From that Rand — they were girls; I was eight). comment came the I spent hours fighting Klingons and Tribbles, jumping to idea for an action warp 9 and body slamming Scottie. (I was also a wrestling figure museum. fan). I also spent hours explaining to my sister that these Opening that museum soon became an integral part of were not Barbie dolls, but indeed action figures and the city’s planning process called VISION 2010. therefore quite masculine. Five years after the idea first surfaced, following plenty of This month I loaded up the Okiewagen and headed to research and planning, tons of volunteer hours, a hotel- Pauls Valley, home of friendly folks, catfish noodling, and motel tax, and donations from private individuals and the world’s first Toy and Action Figure Museum. companies, the Toy and Action Figure Museum (www. actionfiguremuseum.com) has become a reality. A major preaching point of community development is “play to your strengths.” In Oklahoma that can mean anything On October 15, 2005, it opened for business. By the from Native American and Western heritage to outdoor end of the year, just 2 ½ months later, more than 4,500 recreation and visitors from 24 states had walked through the museum’s natural resources downtown Pauls Valley doors. Those visitors also to interesting and frequented other establishments in downtown, making the unique people. museum a catalyst for downtown business. Pauls Valley is Along with a menagerie of displays in the action figure using the strength museum, visitors find something unusual in museums of of one of its own, a this sort, places for the kids to play – play with G.I. Joe local artist named and Barbie, play with Legos, and even play and dress up Kevin Stark who as their favorite comic book heroes. It is a great experience has been working for kids of all ages (though, I personally found the outfits in the art field to be a bit small). When you visit the museum, you’re not most of his life. You may even have some of his pieces in just visiting Pauls Valley, you’re stopping by Gotham City, your home. His body of work includes portraits, logos, Metropolis, and Springfield. comic books, children’s book illustrations, and action figures A Call To Action continued on page 14 Page 3 Community Development Progress Showcased at Capitol March 14th heralded the third annual Community Development Day at the Capi- tol, a chance for both communities and community development organizations to showcase their programs and services to elected officials. The event highlighted more than a dozen public and private organizations dedi- cated to growing rural Oklahoma. These organizations set up booths to better educate communities, legislators, and legislative staff on the positive impact the groups are having on communities, as well as economic development efforts Tracey Cox and Alice Johnson are always ready to talk across the state. about the Oklahoma Main Street Program. “This event is important because it demonstrates the positive impact these various organizations are having on the state’s future,” said Vaughn Clark, Community Development Director at Com- merce. “Strengthening these communities — from infrastructure to a better trained Representing all three program teams within Commerce’s workforce — is vital for bringing good jobs to these smaller cities. Over the past few Community Development Division are Kathy McLaughlin (Citizen Empowerment), Scott Myers (Community Infra- years, we have significantly increased our programs designed to lift up our rural com- structure), and Corey Herndon (Community Outreach). munities. Community Development Day is an opportunity to update the legislators and state elected officials on our progress.” Site Ready Program Now Offers a Visual Advantage The new Oklahoma site certification program, Site Ready, is GIS-viewable to the public. For those who are not familiar, GIS (Geographic Information System) offers a set of tools for visualizing, exploring, querying, editing, and analyzing information linked to geographic locations. This allows the user to display the data as maps, tables, and charts. Rural Communities Respond The Site Ready sites have been geocoded, a process of linking to Disaster an address to a geographic location on the map, which allows The most recent issue of the Housing Assistance the viewers to get greater detail of the site and its surround- Council’s Rural Voices focuses on revitalization strategies ings. The Site Ready program also offers the option to display a for communities affected by disasters of all types. report containing data for each site or building. To visit the GIS webpage, go to www.OKcommerce.gov/siteready. Among the communities profiled is Logan County, West Virginia, the site of a major flood in 1972. Beverly Divers-White, of the Foundation for the Mid-South, also discusses how Delta communities are responding to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. View After the Disaster: Rural Communities Respond, at www.ruralhome.org/manager/uploads/ VoicesWinter2005-2006.pdf. Transforming oklahoma one CommuniTy aT a Time Page 4 Grants Presented to Communities in Southwestern Oklahoma In February, state legislators from southwestern Oklahoma presented more than $1,475,000 in Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) grants, $245,800 in Community Development Block Grant-Rural Economic Action Plan (CDBG- REAP) grants, and $218,311 in Community Expansion of Nutrition Assistance (CENA) grants. Southwestern Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) in Burns Flat hosted the ceremonies. Legislators in attendance for the presentations were Representative David Braddock of Altus; Representative James Covey of Custer City; Representative Purcy Walker of Elk City, Representative Ryan McMullen of Burns Flat; and The Town of Dill City received $20,250 of CDBG-REAP Senator Gilmer Capps of Snyder. funds to purchase a fire truck. Pictured from left to right are: The Oklahoma Legislature created REAP in 1996. Senators and representatives Senator Gilmer Capps; Elaine Van Vranken and Jimmy Linn, Town of Dill City; Representative Ryan McMullen; from southwestern Oklahoma have been strong supporters of the program and Scott Myers, Oklahoma Department of Commerce. and have commended its benefits to small rural communities. The Legislature appropriates funds for use by regional councils of governments (COGs), such as SWODA, to fund county and municipal projects benefiting communities of 7,000 or less. CENA funds activities and provides money for home-delivered meals, meals at senior citizen centers and community centers, new equipment, and structural enhancements. Commerce develops policy and procedures for this statewide program and provides technical assistance. Area Agencies on Aging administer programs locally. Commerce and COGs partnered to develop CDBG-REAP to leverage federal CDBG funds and state REAP funds dollar for dollar on each eligible project. For more information about the CDBG program, visit www.OKcommerce.gov/funding or contact Scott Myers at Scott_ Myers@OKcommerce.gov, 800-879-6552, or 405-815-5356. Three Southern Initiatives Honored with Sustainable Communities Award The National Association of Counties recently announced the 10 Collaborative Governance: winners of its 2005 Center for Sustainable Communities Awards. Included among those honored were three initiatives in the South, Key Principles and Best including: 1) Jackson County, Missouri’s Royal and Red…With Practices a Touch of Green initiative; 2) Cumberland County, North A new report from the Alliance for Regional Stewardship Carolina’s base realignment and closure process; and 3) Arlington seeks to answer the key question, “What is collaborative County, Virginia’s Rosslyn-Ballston Metro Corridor. governance?” The top four among these 10 will win cash prizes — $10,000 The report sets out key principles that distinguish to the platinum winner and $5,000 to each of the others. collaborative governance from more traditional practices, For a list of all 10 awardees, go to www.naco.org/Template. ranging from grassroots initiatives to top-down cfm?Section=New_Technical_Assistance&template=/ government. It also offers a number of best practice ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=19409. examples, including Birmingham’s Regional Growth While you’re on NACo’s website, explore all the great Alliance and St. Louis’ Metropolitan Forum. resources, such as Cost Saving Programs for Counties, Grants Download Regional Stewardship and Collaborative Clearinghouse, Public Awareness Campaigns, and Training and Governance at www.regionlink.org/index. Technical Assistance. Page 5 Bessie to Improve Wastewater Infrastructure with CDBG Grant Wastewater infrastructure and service will improve for 184 residents of the Town of Bessie in the coming months thanks in part to a Community Development Block Grant. Funds will be used for improvements at the wastewater retention lagoon for Bessie, which is located between Clinton and Cordell in Washita County. The $247,000 award comes from the state’s 2005 CDBG-Water and Wastewater Construction funds. At the state level, the CDBG program is administered by the Commerce Department. At the federal level, it is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Commerce uses a phased approach to help fund water and wastewater projects. Phase I funds are for the engineering and permitting aspects of a project. Phase II funds are for the necessary costs of construction, engineering, inspection and administration to complete the project. This phased approach ensures the most appropriate technical solutions within available budgets. Additionally, it helps improve both the timeliness of CDBG expenditures and coordination among other state agencies that deal with permitting and financing. For more information on the Community Development Block Grant program, visit www.OKcommerce.gov/funding or contact Scott Myers at Scott_Myers@OKcommerce.gov, 800-879-6552, or 405-815-5356. 101 Ways You Can Be a Positive Influence on Kids Research has shown that kids who enjoy regular positive activity with an adult are less likely to begin using drugs and alcohol. Did you know? • 11.2 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds reported current use of illicit drugs in 2003. • In 2003, 30.5 percent of youths reported using an illicit drug at least once during their lifetime and 21.8 percent reported using an illicit drug within the past year. • Substance abuse among youth has been strongly It doesn’t take much — an hour a week, a couple of hours linked to delinquency. a month. Whether you can coach a sport, teach a skill, At www.HelpYourCommunity.org, you can play and hear or simply hang out, the time you spend with kids will public service announcements, discover “Why You Matter,” influence them and help them make the choice not to use read about people making a difference, hear from youth, drugs. Make a difference in your community today by learn how to get involved, and find out about anti-drug making a difference in the lives of kids. coalitions. Read the list of 101 ways you can help at www. Help kids stay active and you’ll help them stay away from HelpYourCommunity.org — the award-winning website of drugs. the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Transforming oklahoma one CommuniTy aT a Time Page 6 Commerce Funds Housing Revitalization Activities One hundred and thirty Oklahoma families will directly benefit Local Government Award Homes P from the Housing Revitalization program at the Oklahoma Amount Department of Commerce, which has awarded $800,000 to five Atoka County $150,000 50 o local governments. re Each local government receiving the funding will work with a City of Clinton $150,000 20 o Community Based Development Organization to help revive re low-income areas of their communities. Housing Revitalization Johnston County $150,000 20 o re activities may include partial home rehabilitation, energy- Marshall County $150,000 20 o efficient retrofits, handicap accessibility, correction of health and re safety issues, and residential emergency repair. Woods County $200,000 20 o The Commerce Department annually makes CDBG funds re available to eligible incorporated towns, cities and counties. Total $800,000 130 Commerce uses a competitive grant process with an established set of threshold and rating criteria. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides funding for the state’s CDBG programs. For more information on the Community Development Block Grant program for Housing Revitalization projects, visit www. OKcommerce.gov/funding or contact Scott Myers at Scott_Myers@OKcommerce.gov, 800-879-6552, or 405-815-5356. Engineering Funds Granted for Water and Sewer Projects Fourteen towns and cities recently received notice that they counties. Congress funds the CDBG program through the U.S. will be getting a Community Development Block Grant Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (CDBG) award for engineering and permitting expenses of For more information on the Community Development Block their water and sewer projects, directly benefiting 7,743 low- Grant program for Water and Wastewater projects, visit www. and moderate-income people. The $350,859 comes from OKcommerce.gov/funding or contact Scott Myers at Scott_ the state’s FY 2006 CDBG-Water and Wastewater (Phase I Myers@OKcommerce.gov, 800-879-6552, or 405-815-5356. – Engineering) set-aside. The following towns, cities, and counties will receive grants. Commerce uses a phased approach to help fund water and wastewater projects that require more than one year No. Applicant Award Beneficiaries to complete. Phase I funds are for the engineering and Amount 1 Town of Bokoshe $34,250 450 permitting aspects of a project. Phase II funds are for the 2 Town of Boswell $3,750 703 necessary costs of construction, engineering, inspection, and 3 Town of Canadian $45,691 239 administration to complete the project. 4 Town of Jennings $86,417 373 5 Johnston County for the $20,660 163 This phased approach ensures the most appropriate technical Town of Bromide 6 Town of Manitou $12,401 278 solutions within available budgets. Additionally, it helps 7 Town of Millerton $19,730 359 improve both the timeliness of CDBG expenditures and 8 Town of Oakland $13,802 610 coordination among other state agencies that deal with 9 Town of Pittsburg $12,290 280 permitting and financing. 10 Town of Quinton $18,750 1,071 11 Town of Ralston $16,158 355 The Oklahoma Department of Commerce administers the 12 Town of Ravia $20,154 459 13 Town of Ripley $26,646 415 CDBG program at the state level. Each year, it makes CDBG 14 City of Waurika $20,160 1,988 funds available to eligible incorporated towns, cities and Total $350,859 7,743 Page 7 Glencoe and Maud Receive Grants Glencoe and Maud recently received notice they will be getting Community Development Applicant Award Amount Beneficiaries Block Grant (CDBG) awards for construction Town of Glencoe $250,000 583 of their wastewater projects, directly benefiting City of Maud $246,250 1,136 more than 1,700 low- and moderate-income Total $496,250 1,719 people. The funding comes from the state’s FY 2005 CDBG-Water and Wastewater (Phase II – Construction) set-aside. Glencoe will use its $250,000 to fund wastewater system improvements. Maud will use its $246,250 to fund improvements to its wastewater treatment facilities. Commerce uses a phased approach to help fund water and wastewater projects that require more than one year to complete. Phase I funds are for the engineering and permitting aspects of a project. Phase II funds are for the necessary costs of construction, engineering, inspection, and administration to complete the project. This phased approach ensures the most appropriate technical solutions within available budgets. Additionally, it helps improve both the timeliness of CDBG expenditures and coordination among other state agencies that deal with permitting and financing. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce administers the CDBG program at the state level. Each year, it makes CDBG funds available to eligible incorporated towns, cities and counties. Congress funds the CDBG program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). For more information on the Community Development Block Grant program for Water and Wastewater projects, visit www. OKcommerce.gov/funding or contact Scott Myers at Scott_Myers@OKcommerce.gov, 800-879-6552, or 405-815-5356. Get Developer Electronically CDBG Performance Evaluation Report Get it early! Available for Review If you’d like to be notified when new editions Commerce is preparing the Performance Evaluation of Community Developer are available for Report (PER) on the Community Development download, sign up for e-alerts on our website. Block Grant Program (CDBG). The PER details We’ll send you an e-mail letting you know the use of CDBG funds for each active program year and is submitted annually to the U.S. Department of when it’s online and what to expect in each Housing and Urban Development (HUD). issue. Subscribe today! The report will be available for public review and Go to www.OKcommerce.gov/developer. comment May 31-June 13, 2006. If you wish to review the report, please contact Jack Smid at Jack_ Click “subscribe” in the lower right-hand Smid@OKcommerce.gov or 1-800-879-6552, x5357. corner. It’s that easy! Transforming oklahoma one CommuniTy aT a Time Page 8 THE ENERGY PAGE www.OKcommerce.gov/energy Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Coalition Wins Award The Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Coalition was among the Other winners were South Carolina, Ohio, Central Indi- national winners when the National Ethanol Vehicle Coali- ana, Tucson (AZ) Region, Twin Cities (MN), and Alamo tion (NEVC) recently awarded eight grants totaling $50,000 Area (TX). to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Coalitions In addition to the $35,000 contribution to the seven clean and Transportation Energy Partnerships. cities coalitions, NEVC allocated $15,000 to Transportation NEVC chairman Curtis Donaldson announced the awards at Energy Partnerships to provide assistance to members and the Clean Cities Project Review held in Washington, D.C., other groups that desire information and assistance in their in March. efforts to establish local E85 programs. Seven local Clean Cities coalitions won the awards for acting Find out more about E85 at www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/ at the local level to support the NEVC’s mission to increase e85campaign/e85fuel.html. education and availability of E85, an alternative fuel com- E85 is designed for use in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), which posed of 85 percent ethyl alcohol (ethanol) and just 15 may fuel with either E85 and/or gasoline interchangeably. percent petroleum. Most FFVs are still fueled with gasoline, but the availability “Yvonne Anderson of the Central Oklahoma Clean Cities of E85 and FFVs is expected to increase significantly in the Coalition has led the efforts to facilitate the establishment of next few years. two E85 fueling stations in Oklahoma City,” Donaldson said. Energy Tips Transportation accounts for 66 percent of U.S. oil use, mainly in the form of gasoline. Here are a few ways to improve gas mileage. (See next month’s issue for three more gas-saving tips.) When you use overdrive gearing, your car’s engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces wear. Avoid high speeds. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying $0.10 more per gallon of gas. Aggressive driving (rapid acceleration and hard braking) wastes gas. It can lower your highway gas mile- age 33 percent and city mileage 5 percent. Page 9 Other Funding Opportunities Listed below are some funding opportunities from outside National Crime Prevention Council Offers Grants for Youth the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. A current list is Service-Learning Projects maintained at www.OKcommerce.gov/funding. Deadline: Thursday, June 1, 2006 Funding Opportunities The National Crime Prevention Council will award 100 Target Arts Grants grants of up to $500 through its Teens, Crime, and the Com- Deadline: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 munity initiative. A grant from Target makes it affordable for the entire family The grants will support service-learning projects planned and to participate in different arts and cultural experiences. Pro- implemented by youth who identify needs and create projects grams that bring the arts to schools or children to the arts are to address or prevent crime, violence, and drug abuse in their of particular interest. Examples of Arts Grants include school schools and communities. These grants are intended to en- touring programs, field trips to the theater, or symphony or courage and promote crime prevention, community service, artist residencies and workshops in schools. Awards of up to and civic responsibility. $3,000 will be made. For more information, see http://sites. To be eligible for funding, youth must be participating in a target.com/site/en/corporate/page.jsp?contentId=PRD03- Community Works or Youth Safety Corps program or be in a 001818. youth group or class of six or more members. All participants Additional Target Store Grants must be between the ages of 11 to 19. Deadline: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 Visit the National Crime Prevention Council website, http:// Through its Store Grants, Target supports local giving in the www.nationaltcc.org, to download complete program guidelines. categories of Arts, Reading, and Family Violence Prevention. Youth Activism • The program awards Reading grants to schools, Deadline: Open libraries, and nonprofit organizations, supporting Funds are available for youth-directed activist projects that fo- programs such as weekend book clubs, after-school cus on identifying, crossing and challenging social boundaries reading programs, and events encouraging family in schools and communities. Preference is shown for youth reading time. leadership (i.e. projects created and carried out by youth • Family Violence Prevention grants support groups activists, collaborative efforts across social boundaries), (i.e. working to make individual homes and entire different youth groups or clubs working together), or school- communities safer, such as child abuse counseling based clubs working with community-based organizations, programs and shelters. and continuing efforts to identify, cross or challenge social boundaries. Grants of $500 will be awarded. For full details, Eligible applicants must be nonprofit organizations with visit www.tolerance.org/teens/grants.jsp. 501(c)(3) status, schools, or units of government. Most grants average between $1,000 and $3,000. Funding is Educational Grants from State Farm limited to the communities in which Target does business. Deadline: Open Because applications will be reviewed as they are received, To support K-12 public education, the following types of applicants are encouraged to apply early. grants will be considered: 1) Striving for Teacher Excellence, Applications for Target Store Grants and the complete ap- which will improve teacher quality; 2) Service-Learning pro- plication procedures are available at local Target stores and grams that integrate core classroom curriculum with service online at http://target.com. to the community; 3) Systematic Improvement, or those programs and processes that require longer periods of time and investment of resources to impact measurable student Other Funding Opportunities- continued on page 10 Transforming oklahoma one CommuniTy aT a Time Page 10 Other Funding Opportunities continued from page 9 achievement; and 4) Operation Respect through the “Don’t The guide, Maximizing Program Services Through Private Laugh At Me” project, a curriculum-based program that is Sector Partnerships and Relationships: A Guide for Faith- and designed to establish a climate that reduces the emotional and Community-Based Service Providers, is now available online at physical cruelty some children inflict upon one another. www.samhsa.gov/FBCI/fbci_pubs.aspx. For higher education, The State Farm Foundation provides Medicare Enrollment Toolkit funding to scholarship programs that are administered by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) the American Indian College Fund, the Hispanic Scholar- released an updated toolkit that will aid faith-based and com- ship Fund, and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. munity organizations working with individuals eligible for Awards of up to $10,000 will be made. For more information, the Medicare prescription drug benefit. visit www.statefarm.com/foundati/foundati.htm. The toolkit, titled A National Conversation — Friends and Resources Family First, lays out the five simple steps required to join New Guide for FBCOs Seeking Private-Sector Funding a Medicare prescription drug plan. It is available online at The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Sub- http://www.cms.hhs.gov/partnerships/downloads/national- stance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conversation.pdf. (SAMHSA) has published a new guide for faith-based and National Mental Health Information Center community organizations (FBCOs) that details the process by which they can build private sector partnerships. Find information on mental health resources for children, adolescents, adults and their families at www.mentalhealth. samhsa.gov. Special Edition of Community Developer Packed with State’s Consolidated Resources Plan Approved By HUD Funding resources, development-ready properties, service The Oklahoma Department of Commerce received providers, government benefits, best practices for manag- approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and ing grants, health care information, contacts, and much Urban Development (HUD) for funding of the FY more can be found in the new special edition of the Com- 2006 State of Oklahoma Consolidated Plan. munity Developer newsletter. Included in the plan are the Community Develop- Each year, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce fun- ment Block Grant program, Emergency Shelter Grant nels millions of dollars and resources into communities program, HOME Investment Partnerships program, across the state resulting in thousands of new jobs, im- and Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS proved infrastructure, and initiatives designed to trans- program. The plan year is April 1, 2006, through form Oklahoma one community at a time. March 31, 2007. The 16-page special edition represents the ultimate re- The plan can be found at www.OKcommerce.gov/ source guide to these programs and services (online and communities. Anyone wishing to obtain a printed offline) offered by the Oklahoma Department of Com- copy of the State of Oklahoma Consolidated Plan merce and its state and federal partners. should e-mail Kirk_Martin@OKcommerce.gov or call City leaders, community improvement professionals, 800-879-6552, x5151. economic development organizations, workforce development personnel, clients — will all find something of interest and use. Find it online at www.OKcommerce.gov/developer. Page 11 BR&E Workshop: Innovative Ideas for Helping Oklahoma Companies Prosper Economic and community development professionals from Other speakers, like John Fowler, President and CEO of the across the state joined the Oklahoma Department of Com- Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, discussed the nuts and bolts merce and many of its strategic partners in late February for of organizing a business retention and expansion team. First the first Business Retention & Expansion Workshop: Taking step: find out what your local companies need most. Are they Care of Business. healthy or are they struggling? Where are they in terms of de- velopment? What do they need to meet the challenges ahead? Participants not only heard about new and innovative ways to ensure that Oklahoma’s existing businesses thrive, but Fowler’s suggested steps for finding answers to those questions they walked away with a variety of tools, resources, and con- include: tacts to help them develop or enhance strategic established • Develop a questionnaire and tracking system; industry efforts. • Select and train the team, which should include Featured speaker Greg King, a leading expert on working business leaders, economic development professionals, with established business and industry, focused his discus- education and training organizations, and local govern- sions on building strong relationships with local companies ment officials; and forming partnerships with other resource providers. King, Strategic Partners Officer with the Georgia Institute of Tech- • Establish a schedule or timeline; nology, where he helped form a statewide collaborative initia- • Make assignments and develop a system of account- tive focused on delivering resources to existing businesses and ability; industry at the local level. • Make appointments with targeted employers; According to King, higher education institutions and technolo- gy centers play a key role in established industry development. • Conduct interviews; They have a variety of programs and services available for their area companies that can address all five phases of business • Report the findings back to the employers interviewed, — concept, formation, growth, maturity and reinvention. and follow up as soon as possible on any specific needs or issues discovered during the interviews. Using Georgia Tech as an example, King highlighted several types of resources, programs, and services businesses need to Other key issues discussed included tips and tools for entering successfully plan for and navigate through those five phases, the global market, various tax credits available to help business- including: es expand, and how to use the state-sponsored e-Synchronist Business Information System to analyze data from your local • Expansion assistance companies. • Research, development and technology transfer Workshop presentations may be downloaded at www.okcom- assistance merce.gov/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=760 &Itemid=606. • Productivity improvements • Export assistance • Workforce development. Transforming oklahoma one CommuniTy aT a Time Page 12 Hispanic Businesses Launch Statewide Chamber Hispanic businesses from across Oklahoma recently formed the first State Hispanic Chamber and appointed its first chairman. Minority Business Assistance According to Pat Fennell, executive director of the Latino Available Community Development Agency and member of the new At Commerce, Ken Talley specializes in linking minor- business organization, the State Hispanic Chamber will offer ity-owned businesses to a variety of helpful services and a variety of programs and services, including political edu- programs, including: cation, a medical insurance program, and a Small Business 4Oklahoma Minority Supplier Development Academy — an eight-month program to help entrepreneurs Council create a business plan. 4U.S. Small Business Administration The new chamber will maintain offices in both Tulsa and (SBA) programs Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma City office is under construc- tion and is expected to be completed this fall. 4Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Xavier Neira, vice president of special products at Rooney City of Tulsa. Holdings in Oklahoma City, will serve as the first chairman. For more information, visit www.OKcommerce.gov/ Check out these Spanish-language publications on the Com- smallbiz or contact Ken Talley at Ken_Talley@OKcom- merce website at www.OKcommerce.gov/smallbiz: merce.gov, 800-879-6552, or 405-815-5218. 4 El Plan de Negocias (Business Plan Guide) 4 Puntos Basicos (Business Basics). Future Success of U.S. Small & Innovative Policies to Reduce Medium Manufacturers Examined Poverty According to the National Association of Manufacturers Asset building policies hold the key to reducing poverty (NAM), the manufacturing industry produces two-thirds of in America, says a new report sponsored by the Sodexho America’s exports. Their report, The Future Success of Small and Foundation. Medium Manufacturers, highlights both the role these com- panies play in keeping America globally competitive and the Among the programs featured in the report are: challenges they face. • Kentucky’s state income tax threshold for low-income In addition to rising energy costs, the rising cost of health care households as well as its policies that promote a seam- and skill shortages are significant challenges hindering the less system of transitions from adult education to post- competitiveness of small and medium manufacturers (SMM). secondary education; The report also highlights successful SMM’s 15 best practices. • Arkansas’ Career Pathways initiative, Workforce Im- To review the latest NAM report visit www.nam.org/s_nam/ provement Grant Program and Individual Development bin.asp?CID=202515&DID=236457&DOC=FILE.PDF. Accounts; • Georgia’s HOPE grants and GoodWorks initiative; and • Louisiana’s START Savings program. Download the report, Innovative State Policies to Reduce Pov- erty and Expand the Middle Class, at www.sodexhousa.com/ press-releases/pr120705.asp. Page 13 Career Ready Program Gaining Poverty Simulation Provides Momentum New Understanding Within today’s global economy, finding and keeping a job In February, students entering the social services field gained requires higher skill levels than ever before. Employers want a greater appreciation of the challenges faced by the poor. workers with documented skills based on the “real world” of any workplace — from a welding shop to a hospital. A poverty simulation conducted at Tulsa Community College (TCC) drew students, faculty, and staff. Participants experi- The Governor’s Council for Workforce and Economic Devel- enced simulated poverty by attempting to accomplish tasks opment and many of its partner agencies are currently rolling such as accessing social services, caring for sick children, and out a system of assessment and certification designed to meet paying rent — while dealing with a financial crisis. the needs of both employees and employers. This system is called the Career Ready Program. The faculty at TCC requested the simulation to encourage discussion among the students entering the social services To date, the initiative involves the assessment of 17,000 po- field. After going through the simulation and making the tential and incumbent employees and more than 70 sites for difficult decision that families in poverty must make daily, the pre-assessment, assessment, and training across the state. students gained a new understanding of the challenges of liv- ing in poverty. How do you provide food, shelter, and other Designed by ACT, the company that developed the ACT necessities when there’s simply not enough money? How do Assessment college entrance exam, Career Ready measures you feel about yourself when you can’t provide for your fam- communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills ily? Do you begin to view your community differently? valuable to any occupation — skilled or professional — and at any level of education. At the end of the simulation, participants shared feelings of frustration, stress, rejection, and struggle. One participant When fully implemented, assessment sites will be set said, “I now realize how children become stressed or scared up across the state on college campuses, One-Stop sites, when their parents struggle.” Another student also indicated CareerTech centers, etc. Individuals’ assessments and scores the impact the simulation had on her: “It was very eye-open- will be recorded and housed in a secure database. ing. I don’t think it could’ve had a bigger impact on me than These portable skills credentials, which are easily and nation- it did.” ally recognized, can be used to facilitate job placement, reten- Certified poverty simulation facilitators from the Oklahoma tion, and advancement in our mobile society. Department of Commerce conducted the simulation. For more information or to find out how your business, To contact a poverty simulation facilitator or to schedule a agency, or organization can participate in the Career Ready poverty simulation, contact Kathy McLaughlin at the Okla- program, contact Susan Kuzmic at Susan_Kuzmic@OKcom- homa Department of Commerce at Kathy_McLaughlin@ merce.gov, 800-879-6552, or 405-815-5204. OKcommerce.gov, 800-879-6552, or 405-815-5339. Helping Displaced Workers in Oklahoma and North Carolina The closing of General Motors’ North American plants will affect more than 1,000 workers in Oklahoma City. To assist the affected workers and their families, the U.S. Department of Labor recently awarded Oklahoma $1 million in National Emer- gency Grants. These funds will provide career counseling, training, and job search assistance to affected workers. To learn more, visit www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/opa/OPA2002312.htm. Communities in western North Carolina faced a situation similar to Oklahoma’s GM layoffs with the closing of Pillowtex in 2003. North Carolina communities used their National Emergency funds along with other resources to successfully retrain and re-employ workers. To learn more visit, the Southern Growth Idea Bank at www.southernideabank.org/items.php?id=2540. Transforming oklahoma one CommuniTy aT a Time Page 14 Helping High School Dropouts It Pays Big to Think Small Nanotechnology Employment Compensation to Build Local Workforce and Outlook The Jobs for the Future The nano job market is heating up, with salaries and num- Report, Making Good on a ber of jobs rising, according to a survey conducted by Small Promise, debunks the myth Times magazine. that high school dropouts The survey found that the average salary globally in this in- are uninterested in educa- dustry is $84,605, with the U.S. average being $97,978. The tion and examines policies survey also found that almost 37 percent of the employees that help these students have a degree at the level of Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. earn postsecondary creden- tials. In Oklahoma, The State Chamber and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) According to researchers, are pursuing initiatives promoting the growth and develop- socioeconomic status, not race, is the biggest determinant ment of nanotechnology. of whether a student finishes school. These students are amazingly persistent. Sixty percent of dropouts earn a high To view the report, visit www.smalltimes.com/document_dis- school credential by age 25 and 44 percent go on to pursue a play.cfm?document_id=11003. postsecondary degree. A new report from the Southern Growth Policies Board, Con- Despite high postsecondary enrollment rates, only 9 percent of necting the Dots: Creating a Southern Nanotechnology Network, these students graduate with a two- or four-year degree and less maps the South’s assets in Nanotechnology and provides than a quarter of students complete a certificate program. recommendations for establishing the South as a leader in the emerging industry. As a non-profit research, consulting, and advocacy organiza- tion, Jobs for the Future (www.jff.org) works to strengthen The report outlines the South’s strengths and weaknesses in society by creating educational and economic opportunity for nanotechnology in five key areas — human capital, knowl- those who need it most. edge generation, patents, funding, and commercialization — and includes data for all of the Southern Growth member For more information on Making Good on a Promise visit states, including Oklahoma. www.jff.org/JFF_KC_Pages.php?WhichLevel=1&lv1_ id=4&lv2_id=0&lv3_id=0&KC_M_ID=287. (There is a To review the executive summary, visit www.southern.org/ one-time, free registration to access this site.) pubs/ConnectDots/ConnectExecSumm.pdf. A Call To Action continued from page 2 Sometimes our greatest assets are hidden right under our noses. Those communities that step out of the mold and find a way to use their unusual strengths are finding themselves a point of interest for outside visitors. Perhaps you can uncover a unique and interesting aspect of your community and create, as Capt. James T. Kirk said, “... a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars.” I no longer play with action figures (unless, of course, I’m invited to join a gathering of dolls at my daughter’s tea parties) and the Star Trek collection got sold off at a garage sale many moons ago. But the joy of Galaxy-jumping and zapping hostile aliens still lingers in youthful memories, much like the entrepreneurial spirit abounds in Pauls Valley. If you know of an event or story worth highlighting in the Community Developer, write me at Corey_Herndon@ OKcommerce.gov or give me a call at 405-815-5201. I can’t promise to cover everything, but I’ll do my best. Page 15 Upcoming Events Upcoming Events Date / Time Event / Contact Location Address / City May 2 $mart$tart Conference (and Poverty National Center for Employee 2701 E Imhoff Rd Simulation) Development 9 AM - Noon Allison Briggs, 405-278-6978 Norman May 3 - 5 11th Annual Forestry on the Grow Western Hills Guest Ranch Conference & Expo Ouachita Mountains RC&D, Inc. 918-423-2479 Wagoner May 9 Oklahoma Main Street Awards Reception & National Cowboy & Western 1700 NE 63rd St Dinner Heritage Museum 5 - 8 PM Alice Johnson, 405-815-5171 Oklahoma City May 14-19 National Indian and Native American Crowne Plaza Hotel 100 E 2nd St Employment and Training Conference 6 days Larry D. Ketcher, 918-453-5462 Tulsa June 20 Census Workshops Oklahoma Dept. of Libraries 200 NE 18th St 9 AM - Noon; 1 - 4 PM Jeff_Wallace@odoc.state.ok.us Computer Lab Oklahoma City July 18 CDBG Public Input Session Francis Tuttle Technology Center 12777 N Rockwell Ave 10 AM - Noon OKcommerce.gov/Communities Main Building, Room 1-1048 Oklahoma City July 19 CDBG Public Input Session Kiamichi Technology Center 301 Kiamichi Dr 10 AM - Noon OKcommerce.gov/Communities McAlester July 20 CDBG Public Input Session Tulsa Technology Center 801 E 91st St (Riverside Campus) 10 AM - Noon OKcommerce.gov/Communities Jenks July 25 CDBG Public Input Session Southwest Technology Center 711 W Tamarack Rd 10 AM - Noon OKcommerce.gov/Communities Altus July 27 CDBG Public Input Session High Plains Technology Center 3921 34th St 10 AM - Noon OKcommerce.gov/Communities Woodward August 10-11 3rd annual Women in Agriculture and Small Clarion Convention Center 735 S Meridian Ave Business Conference 2 days www.greatplainsrcd.org/wasbw.php Oklahoma City August 17-19 Oklahoma Municipal League Annual Cox Convention Center 1 Myriad Gardens Conference and Expo 2 days 800-324-6651 Oklahoma City September 19 Census Workshops Oklahoma Dept. of Libraries 200 NE 18th St 9 AM - Noon; 1 - 4 PM Jeff_Wallace@odoc.state.ok.us Computer Lab Oklahoma City If you would like to suggest an event to be included on this calendar, please e-mail Kirk_Martin@OKcommerce.gov. For updates, visit www.OKcommerce.gov/about and click "Events." Call for Applications: Assets for Independence Program The Office of Community Services within the U.S. Department Individual Development Accounts are special savings accounts of Health and Human Services is now accepting grant applica- where participants’ savings are matched with grant funds enabling tions of up to $1 million for the Assets for Independence Program quick savings toward their asset goal. Eligible participants are those (AFI). Applications received by June 15, 2006, will be reviewed with incomes 200 percent or less of the federal poverty guidelines. and funding selections announced by September 2006. In 2006, a family of four earning $40,000 or less would qualify. Community-based, faith-based, and other organizations — such Obtain free downloadable step-by-step guidance and sugges- as state, local and tribal government agencies; community de- tions for project development to help with application guide- velopment financial institutions; and low-income-serving credit lines. Visit www.acf.hhs.gov/assetbuilding to get your free copy unions — that assist low-income people to become economically of the AFI Project Builder, federal program announcement, and self-sufficient are encouraged to apply. Applicants provide clients related forms. financial education and assistance while they save earned income For more information or a paper application, contact the AFI Re- in Individual Savings Accounts (IDAs) for the goal of acquiring source Center, www.acf.hhs.gov/assetbuilding, email afiprogram@ one of three assets — a first home, post-secondary education, or acf.hhs.gov, or call 202-401-4626. Include your name, organiza- small business capital. tion, mailing address and request. OKcommer ce.gov (PRSRT STD) Community Development Division US POSTAGE PD 900 N. Stiles Ave./P.O. Box 26980 Okla. City, OK Permit No. 41 Oklahoma City, OK 73126-0980 800-TRY-OKLA (879-6552) Return Service Requested Community Developer is a product of the Oklahoma Depart- ment of Commerce. Community Development, Director: Vaughn Clark Editor: Kirk Martin Layout/Design: Ruthanne Smith Editorial Board: Corey Herndon Marshall Vogts Kelli Shafer Steve Hoover Contributors: April Jones Marshall Vogts Jack Smid Tim Milligan Karen Adair Circulation Coordinator: Mailing list update Linda Goode q Correct Company or Address q Replace current name with new name q Add a subscriber q Remove a subscriber The Oklahoma Department of Com- merce (www.OKcommerce.gov) is Name: the primary economic development arm of the state and is designated by the Oklahoma Legislature as Title: the lead agency for rural economic development. Company: Our Mission is to increase the quan- tity and quality of jobs available in Oklahoma by: Address: • Supporting communities; • Supporting the growth of City/State/Zip: existing businesses and entrepreneurs; Telephone: • Attracting new businesses; and • Promoting the development E-mail: and availability of a skilled To request a mailing list update, complete this form and fax this page to Linda Goode at workforce. 405-815-5344. E-subscriptions - To sign up to be notified when new editions of Community Developer are available for download, go to www.OKcommerce.gov/developer and click on the “Subscribe” link. We’ll send you an e-mail letting you know when it’s online and what to expect in each issue.