York International and Norman Oklahoma and Business Report by xvd31408


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									Baby Boomers – An Untapped Labor Force :::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                          pg. 3
Tulsa Tech Starts Health Training Facility:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                   pg. 3
Norman Regional Hospital::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >              pg. 4
“Ground Breaking” News From Norman :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                        pg. 5            – editor –
Commerce Releases Health Care Analysis::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                          pg. 6          Lydia Johnson
Oklahoma’s New Diabetes Center :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                    pg. 7          Hugh Doherty
Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park ::::::::::::::::::: >                           pg. 8         – contributors –
Mercy Named Magnet Hospital ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                  pg. 10             Tim Burg
Western Tech and OU School of Dental Hygiene :::::::::::::::::: >                            pg. 12          Darla Thomas
Oklahoma Chamber Blue :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >               pg. 13          Sheryl McLain
                                                                                                             Nancy Robbins
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                         pg. 14
                                                                                                             Megan Juneau
Eastern Region Health Care Summit :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                     pg. 16
                                                                                                              Lauren Clark
Variety Health Center Opens ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >              pg. 17            Debi Busch
Insurance Program for Manufacturers ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >                    pg. 18           Cheryl Cook
Cleveland Region :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >        pg. 19           Joe Epperley
Eastern Region :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >      pg. 20        Nanette Robertson
Southern Region:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >        pg. 21            Tim Milligan
                                                                                                         ODOC Research Team
Tulsa Region ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >     pg. 22
East Central Region :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: >         pg. 23          – designer –
Oklahoma Launches Career Readiness Certificates::::::::::::: >                               pg. 24           Joey Garrett

                                                                                                      Business Crossroads is a
                            After a year-long research effort, the Governor’s Council for             publication of the Public
                            Workforce and Economic Development adopted a sector-                      Awareness and Outreach
                            based strategy for developing our workforce. As part of its               Team of the Governor’s
                            implementation of sector strategies, in-depth reports were                Council for Workforce and
                                                                                                      Economic Development and
                            commissioned on each of the major industry sectors that
                                                                                                      is available at no charge
                            are critical to Oklahoma’s wealth generating ability, or                  from Business Services
                            to its infrastructure. Those industries that were identified              Team members statewide.
                            were Health Care, Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace,                      Electronic versions
                            Agriculture/Food Processing, and Transportation/Distribution/             are available at www.
                                                                                                      okcommerce.gov/council as
                            Logistics. The first of these reports was “Oklahoma’s
                                                                                                      well as contact information for
Health Care Industry Workforce: 2006 Report.” It was completed in the spring and                      Business Services Teams.
has been distributed to the governor, legislature, media, and hundreds of key decision                All comments should
makers around the state. The report details acute shortages in a number of health care                be directed to: Lydia
occupations and projected shortages to 2012. The GCWED projects that by the year                      Johnson, Lydia_Johnson@
2012, we will have shortages of 3,135 registered nurses, 600 medical and lab technicians,             okcommerce.gov
171 occupational therapists, 432 physical therapists, and 303 surgical technicians. The               Workforce Oklahoma and
report contains recommendations for alleviating the shortages and how an overall sector               the Oklahoma Department
                                                                                                      of Commerce, as well as
strategy is critical for Oklahoma’s health care industry. Although just released in the
                                                                                                      all our partners, are Equal
spring of 2006, as a result of this report, the legislature immediately increased spending            Opportunity Employers.
for health care occupational training by almost $5,000,000. Legislation also created                  Happy Birthday, Oklahoma!
the Health Care Workforce Resource Center to coordinate, facilitate and communicate
                                                                                                      Business Crossroads was
statewide efforts to meet the supply and demand needs for Oklahoma’s health care                      printed at a cost of $ 5789.00,
workforce. Studies on Oklahoma’s manufacturing and aerospace sectors are currently                    or $0.68 per copy. This
underway. To view Oklahoma’s Health Care Industry Workforce: 2006 Report, visit the                   document is in the public
Oklahoma Department of Commerce web site: www.okcommerce.gov                                          domain.

2 business crossroads
Baby Boomers - An Untapped Labor Force
   It is a sad time when America’s        specialists are coming up with fresh         the term “progressive” undeniably
most loved baby boomers are edging        ideas to fight back.                         captures the revolutionary retirement
closer to retirement. In a country           The AARP has a strategic plan             plans that they are crafting.
where health care benefits are not        to shake the current state of health            Now we ask: “Just how
exactly ideal, what can we foresee        care and give back to our most               progressive are Oklahoma’s health
for the generation who bolstered          admired baby boomers. According to           care plans and what does this
our economy far beyond                                                                            mean for Oklahoma’s
recognition? Will they be                                                                         workforce?”
bound to the depths of their                                                                         Baby Boomers want to
lazy-boys, remote control in                                                                      work. They need to work
one hand and daily meds in                                                                        and they refuse to take a
the other?                                                                                        back seat in our commercial
   Maybe this was the                                                                             culture. Let’s face it. If they
traditional retirement plan                                                                       did sit back, they would
that the early silent generation                                                                  be neglecting the job they
carried on, but these post                                                                        revolutionized decades
WWII boomers and health                                                                           ago. Their knowledge,
care advocates are exerting a                                                                     experience and will to work
mentality far too ambitious to                                                                    for the greater good are key
succumb to the dire predictions                                                                   elements in a competitive
of health care disasters.                                                                         workforce.
   AARP’s Chief Operating                                                                            This has not gone
Officer, Tom Nelson, pledged                                                                      unnoticed. In fact, the
his support in a September 2005           Nelson’s address, the AARP has been          AARP announced an Alliance for an
speech. He said, “We are the richest      rattling policy makers to strengthen         Experienced Workforce in February.
nation in the world and the best          our system. Their ultimate goal is           The Alliance is comprised of more
equipped… to reinvent our systems         to make prescription drugs more              than twenty industry associations
and programs.”                            affordable and redirect spending             that represent over five million
   This attitude, along with the          toward home and community-based              businesses.
determination of the baby boomer          care and less on nursing homes.                 The Alliance is said to “promote
generation, just might change the         This plan is outlined on the AARP            solution-based strategies for
face of America’s health care system.     website.                                     recruiting and retaining workers
   It is no surprise that our system         Okay, that sounds brilliant. How          over 50 years old and plan for the
is in danger and has been for quite       do we begin in Oklahoma?                     demographic challenges that face this
some time. Countless reports rant of         One of the goals of the Oklahoma          country in the years ahead.”
the rising costs of health insurance,     Health Care Authority is, “Ensuring              It seems that the most crucial step
the rapid aging of a multitude of         that citizens of Oklahoma who rely           now is for Oklahoma to devise the
Americans, and the complete lack of       on state-purchased health care are           most effective strategy to climb on
efficient health care delivery options.   served in a progressive and positive         board this untapped workforce. After
There’s no shock there.                   system.”                                     all, these eager baby boomers will
   But, it seems that health care            Well, with the baby boomers               not likely wait around for an invite.

Tulsa Tech Starts Health Training Facility
   Tulsa Technology Center (TTC)          the first in Tulsa Tech’s 10-year master     Owasso campus, and “exploratory”
recently broke ground on a $31.5          plan and designated as a Centennial          health sciences classes will remain at
million building that will combine most   project, will house the practical nursing,   each TTC campus.
of the school’s health care programs      radiology, surgical technology, medical         Construction on the combined
onto the Lemley Campus, allowing          assisting, dental assisting, vision care,    medical programs building, 3420 S.
a more interdisciplinary approach to      and sports medicine programs.                Memorial Drive, should be completed
training medical professionals.              An emergency medical services             within 18 months.
   The 179,000-square-foot building,      program will be at the forthcoming
                                                                                                           business crossroads 3
Norman Regional Hospital
                                                                                        about the company for whom they
                                                                                        work (Argenti, 1998), so internal
                                                                                        communication is the catalyst
                                                                                        to organizational excellence and
                                                                                        effectiveness (Grunig, 1992) and it
                                                                                        should be continuous (Young and
                                                                                        Post, 1993).”
                                                                                            Shockey credited the majority
                                                                                        of their recent success to their
                                                                                        employee communication efforts.
                                                                                            “We developed action plans with
                                                                                        their suggestions and gave them
                                                                                        feedback about the suggestions.”
                                                                                            So, we ask: how is employee
                                                                                        relations specifically beneficial in
                                                                                        the health care industry?
                                                                                            Well, it is quite possibly the
                                                                                        most important industry for
                                                                                        employee relations. Countless
                                                                                        reports suggest that health care
                                                                                        facilities generate better output
                                                                                        with happier employees.
                                                                                            Perhaps the most imperative
                                                                                        thing to consider is patient
                                                                                        mentality. The health care
                                                                                        industry will always be steadily
                                                                                        demanding because patients have
                                                                                        more choices and more access to
                                                                                        information. So, it is important
                                                                                        to get a competitive advantage,
                                                                                        and most professionals agree that

                                                                                        leading customer service efforts
             orman’s leading health        public relations experts, Shockey’s          will make any business stand out in
             care facility, Norman         strategy hit it right on. In fact,      its community.
             Regional Hospital,            Richard Dolphin consolidated                The National Association of
             increased employee            the thoughts of many respected          Children’s Hospitals and Related
satisfaction from the 14th percentile to   public relations experts in a 2005      Institutions highlighted the three most
the 99th percentile in less than three     article for the Journal of Marketing    important areas to achieve long-term
years and continues today to be in the     Communications.                         results in health care business in a
95th percentile with comparable sized         Using such public relations gurus    March publication.
hospitals. Human Resource Manager          as James Grunig, considered the             “People- hire the best; Passion-
Carolyn Shockey has done several           father of public relations, Dolphin     develop a passion for service within
national presentations highlighting the    summed up the increasing importance     your organization; Process- create and
effects of their success.                  in employee/internal relations.         reinforce policies and processes to
“It’s simple: employee relations is           “Internal communications is a        transform culture.”
today’s strategic imperative,” Shockey     complex, interpretive process through       It is clear that employee relations
said. “The increase in employee            which employees coordinate the          is at the top of the business “to do.”
satisfaction has undeniably had an         work processes essential to the         Considering this, commends should
effect on our increased bottom line,       functioning of any organization (Daft   be given to Norman Regional Hospital
patient and physician satisfaction.”       and Weick, 1984). Employees today       for their passion and dedication to
   According to all the major              are likely to want more information     health care.

4 business crossroads
“Ground Breaking” News From Norman
   Hospital leaders sunk shovels into   announced in 2006 its plans              being thrown around at this point
Norman soil September of 2006,          for locating MG’s worldwide              include, Kirklands, Office Depot,
marking the ground breaking of the      headquarters in Oklahoma City, and       Circuit City and restaurants, Pei Wei
new $110 million Norman Regional        its research and development center      and Chick-fil-a. Although names
HealthPlex to be located at Tecumseh    in Norman this year. MG’s R&D            remain a guessing game, it is certain
Rd. and 1-35. The ground breaking       Center will directly involve OU in       University North Park will create
coincided with Norman Regional          engineering and designing future MG      thousands of new jobs in the next
Hospital’s 60th anniversary. Norman     models.                                  two to five years.
Regional already boasts about              Chickasaw Nations Industries             “Norman has seen decades of
2,300 employees and will become         (CNI) recently purchased the former      steady growth and all signs seem
even more of a major employment         John Saxon Corporate building            to indicate that will continue for
center in the future. Construction is   near Highway 9 in Norman. The            decades to come. Much of Norman’s
expected to take two years with the     tribal business corporation, which       current focus is on quality versus
HealthPlex opening in late 2008.        plans to do $400 million dollars of      quantity,” said Don Wood, Executive
   New up and coming developments       revenue in 2007, will consolidate its                  Director of the
seem to be a popular theme among        Oklahoma City operations into the                        Norman Economic
Norman employers. New employers,        65,000 square-foot facility. Bio-Cide                     Development
including Albon, connecting rod         plans on relocating, as well, to a new                    Coalition.
manufacturer, and SDT, software         facility currently under
testing, have big plans for 2007.       construction in
In addition, the heavily anticipated    Norman. In
University North Park is fully
underway, with phase I scheduled
to be complete in 2007.
Most major
employers in
the Norman area
are at all time high
levels of employment,
as well, including Client Logic,
Office Max, York International, Risk
Metrics, Southwestern Wire and the      addition
University of Oklahoma (OU).            to these, a number of
   The opening of the National          new office buildings
Weather Center at OU’s campus           are being planned,
in September of 2006 marked an          and six hotels were
important step in building a more       announced in 2006,
diversified economy based upon          two of which have
research and high technology in         already broken ground.
Norman. Additionally, OU’s Two             The question of what
Partners Place is already planned for   businesses are planned for
opening in early in 2007. The 50,000    Norman’s University
square foot building will stand on      North Park still remains
the university’s research campus and    a mystery. Located at
will house OU research programs         Robinson and I-35, the 585
along with private sector companies.    acres of empty land space
Construction on the 75,000 sq. ft.      promise a shopping lover’s
Three Partners Place building should    haven. Brandy Tice, Sooner
start in 2007 and the building is       Investment leasing agent,
scheduled to open in 2008.              said there are tentative plans for
   Nanjing Automobile Corporation       various department stores and
(NAC), China’s oldest carmaker,         smaller retail businesses. Names

                                                                                                   business crossroads 5
Commerce Releases Health
   If current trends continue, by         the Governor’s Council and former       education programs in nursing and
2012 Oklahoma is expected to              president/CEO of Mercy Health           allied health. While 79% (9,193)
have a shortage of more than 3,000        System Oklahoma. “As a state, we        of those applicants were deemed
nurses, 600 lab technicians, 400          now know what our target is for         qualified, only 57% were actually
physical therapists, 300 surgical         expanding the educational pipeline      admitted because of limitations in
technologists and nearly 200              in order to have the number of          the education system capacity.
occupational therapists, according        workers needed by the year 2012. It        “Current health care worker
to an industry report released by the     is critical that Oklahoma makes this    shortages are projected to steadily
Governor’s Council for Workforce          issue a key priority and monitors       worsen unless steps are taken today
and Economic Development                  its progress, and the need for health   to greatly increase the number of
(GCWED). The Health Care Industry         care workers, on an ongoing basis.”     nurses, therapists, and technicians

                              Projected Shortage of Select Health Care Professionals
                                                        Projected Shortage          % of Projected Total
                        Occupation                           In 2012               Employment In 2012
            Registered Nurses                                  3,135                        12%
            Medical and Lab Technicians
            and Technologists                                     606                         15%
            Occupational Therapists                               171                         16%
            Physical Therapists                                   432                         20%

          Source: Oklahoma Department of Commerce

Analysis Report, the first of a series       As one of Oklahoma’s most            entering health care professions in
of selected industries, assesses          important industries, health care       Oklahoma.” Phil Berkenbile, State
supply and demand and provides a          continues to be a key element in the    Director of Career and Technology
gap analysis of the current and future    state’s ability to recruit and retain   Education. The shortage projections
workforce needs of Oklahoma’s             new and expanding businesses.           included in the report are most
health care industry.                     As new companies and families           likely understated since they do not
    The Health Care Industry study        consider moving to or staying in        adjust for: 1) the higher demand
surveyed Oklahoma’s hospitals,            Oklahoma, they look carefully at        for health care services needed by
ambulatory care facilities, residential   the education, health care, safety      aging Baby Boomers, 2) the reduced
nursing homes, home health                and economic environment before         supply of workers due to anticipated
providers and the Oklahoma State          committing. Providing education         retirements from the current health
Department of Health to determine         and health care attuned to the needs    care workforce, or 3) the existing
patterns of demand, along with            of each community across the state      need to improve the overall health
expected trends over the next five to     is essential to this commitment. In     status of Oklahomans.
ten years. At the same time, health       2004, health care was the second           "Our higher education institutions
care educators were surveyed to           largest employing industry in           are currently at the limits of their
determine how many new health care        Oklahoma, comprising 14% of the         capacity when it comes to producing
workers are graduated each year and       state’s total employment. In 2003,      the health care professionals that our
to identify barriers to further growth.   health care provided $6.5 billion in    state needs. We have no shortage
    “The significance of this study       direct contributions to Oklahoma’s      of applicants to earn degrees, but
is, for the first time, Oklahoma          Gross State Product.                    we must find a way to bring more
is able to quantify its need for             The Oklahoma State Regents for       resources to the table so that we
nurses and other critical health care     Higher Education reports that in        can expand the number of students
professionals,” according to Mike         2004 there were more than 11,619        we can accept into our programs,”
Packnett, former vice chairman of         applicants to 113 postsecondary         former Chancellor Paul Risser.

6 business crossroads
Care Analysis for Oklahoma
    To resolve current and projected       the number of health care workers         • In 2004, physical therapist jobs
 health care workforce shortages, the      needed in the state.                        exceeded the number of active
 study recommends collaboration            The recommendations address                 licensed physical therapists by
 among Oklahoma’s educators, health        issues uncovered by the study such          16%.
 care employers, and economic              as:                                       • In 2005, Oklahoma's nursing and
 development leaders to ensure that         • Oklahoma's health care workforce         allied health programs reported
 health care workforce solutions are          is aging. Currently, 36% of              11% of their faculty positions were
 made a priority. Oklahoma’s health           Oklahoma's RNs are aged 50 or            vacant.
 care industry and its educational            over.                                     “By investing now in the current
 and economic development partners          • The elderly consume up to three        and future health care workforce,
 must develop new and innovative              times more health care than            Oklahoma will ensure that the
 programs to recruit and retain a             younger age groups.                    state preserves access to needed
 sufficient number of highly-trained        • Oklahomans aged 65 and over will       medical services, and Oklahoma will
 health care workers. Expanding the           increase by 63% by 2030.               continue to be an attractive place to
 health care education pipeline by          • Oklahoma currently ranks 44th          work, play and live,” said Steven
 allocating education funds to solve          in the nation in terms of RNs per      D. Hendrickson, Director, State and
 faculty shortages, and increasing            capita.                                Local Government Relations, The
 the number of clinical training sites      • Demand is greater than the size of     Boeing Company and Chairman of
 were identified as key to increasing         the health care current workforce.     GCWED.

 Governor Henry and State Leaders Outline
 Impact of Planned Oklahoma Diabetes Center
    Flanked by lawmakers and tribal        Diabetes Center will develop statewide    age 50. A number of Native American
 leaders as well as leaders in education   programs in diabetes care and research    tribes headquartered in Oklahoma
 and health care, Governor Brad Henry      for adults and children with diabetes.    are partnering in the state’s efforts
 updated Oklahomans on the next            Construction for the ODC can happen       involving the Oklahoma Diabetes
 step in establishing a state-of-the-art   as early as 2008.                         Center.
 Oklahoma Diabetes Center.                    Diabetes is a major cause of heart        Attendees at the bill signing
    The Oklahoma Diabetes Center           attacks, strokes, and limb amputations,   included Chickasaw Nation Governor
 (ODC), which will boast locations in      and is the major cause of blindness       Bill Anoatubby, Choctaw Nation Chief
 Oklahoma City and Tulsa, will focus       and end stage kidney failure in the       Greg Pyle, Cherokee Nation Principal
 on diabetes treatment and prevention,     U.S.                                      Chief Chad Smith and University of
 as well as cutting-edge research.            This is especially true among the      Oklahoma President David Boren.
 “The rate of diabetes in Oklahoma         Native American population, which
 exceeds the national average, with        is particularly
 one in 10 Oklahomans diagnosed as         vulnerable
 diabetic and thousands of other cases     to diabetes.
 being undiagnosed,” Governor Henry        The Centers
 said.                                     for Disease
 “I am proud that we are taking action     Control and
 to develop the very best treatment        Prevention
 for this life-threatening disease. As     recently
 a result of this world-class diabetes     estimated that
 center, we will significantly boost       one of every
 Oklahomans’ access to cutting-edge        two Native
 medical treatment and research.”          American
    A collaborative effort among           children
 clinicians and scientists in Oklahoma     will develop
 City and Tulsa, the Oklahoma              diabetes by
                                                                                                      business crossroads 7
Growing Research a
By Jim Stafford, The Oklahoman
  With 550,000 square feet in six    clearing a wide swath of ground             “Occupancy is at 97 percent,”
buildings valued at nearly $100      just west of the park's parking             Caton said.
million, the future may include a    garage where a second garage will              "We have little pockets left we
hotel and conference center.         be built. Just north of the garage,         can lease," he said. "We weren't
  The earth is moving again on the   a seventh building soon will be             in any fast-track mode prior to the
campus of the Presbyterian Health    started in what ultimately will be a        (recent) Walgreens deal, but when
Foundation Research Park.            10-building campus.                         they moved in they took almost
  Big yellow bulldozers are             "We will build the second                60,000 square feet, with the right of
                                     parking garage and Building Seven           refusal on another 12,500."
                                        simultaneously," said J.R. Caton,           Walgreens opened what it
                                            vice president of Research           calls a "clinical care center" last
                                                Park operations. "It will        year that offers round-the-clock
                                                   be a two-year project."       counseling and support services to
                                                        The Research Park        pharmacists, doctors and benefit
                                                      already features           providers in the 755 Research
                                                       six buildings with        Parkway building. In announcing
                                                        550,000 square           plans to open the center in August
                                                         feet that are           2005, Walgreens said it would
                                                          valued at about        employ 125 people at the location.
                                                           $100 million.            Including the Presbyterian
                                                            Building             Health Foundation offices and
                                                              Seven will         research park management office,
                                                               add 147,000       49 tenants are in the park. The
                                                               square feet of    park is just off Lincoln Boulevard,
                                                                lab and office   south of NE 8, and is part of the
                                                                space for        Oklahoma Health Center campus,
                                                               bioscience-       which includes the University
                                                              related            of Oklahoma Health Sciences
                                                            businesses.          Center and the Oklahoma Medical
                                                               The new           Research Foundation.
                                                           construction             Dr. Stephen M. Prescott,
                                                            has long been        president of the Oklahoma Medical
                                                             planned, but its    Research Foundation, said the park
                                                             start comes just    was built with "extraordinary"
                                                             as the research     vision that benefits the entire state.
                                                           park reached             "For the Oklahoma Medical
                                                           virtual capacity.     Research Foundation, it provides
                                                                                 an attractive, supportive

8 business crossroads
at Presbyterian Park
 mechanism for commercializing           described the park as                    bring a surprise, he said. Instead
 our discoveries," Prescott said.        a "key success factor" for its           of the traditional research park
 "Right now, four spin-off ventures      clients. OU researchers and              building with office and lab space,
 that were born in the labs of OMRF      scientists from the Oklahoma             foundation officials are considering
 have grown into companies that          Medical Research Foundation are          building a hotel and conference
 are housed at Research Park. It         located just blocks away from the        center on the site.
 has proved a tremendous asset           park.                                       "Given the difficulty in finding
 in increasing the critical mass of         "First and foremost there             accommodations downtown, it
 scientists and biomedical research      is the proximity value," Main            makes sense," Main said. "It would
 projects in this region."               said. "Everyone and everything           certainly enhance the attractiveness
    Greg Main, chief executive           is so handy that efficiency in           of the campus."
 officer at i2E, the not-for-profit      communications is greatly                   Caton said construction of
           corporation that mentors      enhanced. Then there are the             Building 10 is tenuous because
              many of the state's        intangible benefits that occur just      an oil well is on the site. The
                   emerging biotech-     because you continually run into         foundation cannot build on the site
                           related       colleagues and have impromptu            as long as its well's owner retains
                            companies,   meetings and conversations."             the right to keep the well open,
                                            Added Michael Carolina,               according to Oklahoma law, he
                                         executive director of the Oklahoma       said.
                                         Center for the Advancement of               Construction won't end with
                                         Science and Technology, those            completion of the build-out of the
                                         "collegial relationships" that the       current campus. The foundation
                                         park facilitates enhance its value to    owns title to property on the east
                                         tenants.                                 side of Lincoln, to which officials
                                            "It is an environment that fosters    envision expanding the Park. It is
                                         the exchange of ideas," Carolina         located within an area within NE
                                          said. "It can be favorably compared     4 to NE 8 and from Lincoln on the
                                           to a university campus. These          west to Lottie on the east.
                                                 are places where research           The expansion to the east could
                                                   happens and where              begin within the next decade, Caton
                                                    innovation happens."          said. That's assuming the remaining
                                                      That campus is changing     buildings on the current campus are
                                                      once again with the start   built on schedule and filled with
                                                       of new construction.       tenants.
                                                           As soon as the            "Based on our track record, it
                                                         parking garage and       takes about 18 months to build a
                                                          Building Seven          building, and historically it has
                                                          are completed,          taken us six to nine months to fill it
                                                           Caton anticipates      up," he said.
                                                           construction on an        Meanwhile, the big yellow
                                                           eighth building will   bulldozers are moving earth on
                                                           begin, with work       the campus to fulfill that vision.
                                                           on the final two       Demand for lab and office space
                                                           buildings following    for biotech-related companies are
                                                           to complete the        driving the construction.
                                                           campus.                   "I see no reason to think that the
                                                              Building Nine on    pace will slow dramatically," Main
                                                           the southeast corner   said.
                                                           of the campus could

                                                                                                    business crossroads 9
Mercy First in Oklahoma to
   Mercy Health Center is the first hospital in Oklahoma and
among only 3 percent of hospitals in the nation to be awarded
Magnet status by the American Nurses Credentialing Center
   “Only 150 hospitals out of 5,000 in the nation are Magnet
hospitals. It’s a tremendous honor to be among such a select
group,” said Chris Weigel, Mercy chief nursing officer. “It is the
gold standard for nursing, and even though we’ve always known
we have outstanding nurses, now everyone else will know it.”
   Mercy is among a list of distinguished Magnet hospitals,
including: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles,
CA), Mayo-Rochester Hospital (Rochester, MN),
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
(Houston, TX), The Johns Hopkins Hospital
(Baltimore, MD), The Cleveland Clinic
(Cleveland, OH), and Baylor
University Medical Center
(Dallas, TX).
   The ANCC, an arm
of the American Nurses
Association, is the
nation’s leading nursing
credentialing center.
To earn Magnet status,
hospitals must undergo a
rigorous application and
on-site inspection process.
The ANCC looks at
every area of a hospital’s
be Named Magnet Hospital
          Studies have shown that Magnet-designated facilities:
           · Report higher patient satisfaction rates
           · Deliver better patient outcomes
           · Consistently outperform non-magnet organizations
           · Provide more nursing care at the bedside of patients
           · Have shorter length of patient stay
           · Have lower patient mortality rates
           · Have lower incidence of needle stick injuries
           · Enjoy increased nurse retention and recruitment rates
           · Report lower rates of nurse burnout and higher rates of job
        When U.S. News & World Report published its annual ranking
        of “America’s Best Hospitals,” facilities with Magnet status
        scored among the highest in virtually every category.
          “Magnet hospitals are magnets for nurses,” said Weigel.
        “Studies have shown time and time again that if nurses enjoy
        their work, patients get better care. Mercy provides the very
        best in nursing and patient care.”
            Mercy Health Center is a member of Mercy Health System of
        Oklahoma and the Sisters of Mercy Health System.
A Unique Partnership –
   Western Technology Center and       Hygiene program.                          are provided by interactive
the University of Oklahoma School         This program is located at             videoconference directly from
of Dental Hygiene have partnered       the Western Tech Center Dental            their professors at the OU Health
to provide educational opportunities   Building in Weatherford which             Sciences Center in Oklahoma City
to rural western Oklahoma students     also houses the WTC Dental                to the WTC’s classroom and clinical
seeking a career as a Dental           Assisting program. According              site,” said Superintendent Orsack.
Hygienist.                             to WTC Superintendent, Gene                  Orsack also pointed out that
   “This program at Western Tech       Orsack, Western Tech spent a year         WTC/OU students practice the
Center is positioned to meet           renovating an unused building to          skills they learn at the on-site clinic/
the high demand for dental                 house both the WTC Dental             classroom on the Weatherford
hygienists in the rural                     Assistance Program and the new       campus. The students work in the
communities,” said Dr.                      OU Dental Hygiene Program.           clinic under the direction of dental
Steve Young, Dean                               “All of Western Technology       hygienist instructors and an on-
of the OU School of                                      Center’s programs       site dentist. “The clinic benefits
Dentistry.                                                       are designed    both students and area residents,”
   “It is an exciting                                              to meet the   said Orsack. “These students will
partnership.”                                                      needs of      put into practice the skills they
   Last year,                                                     our school     have developed through classroom
administrators                                                   districts’      studies and clinical participation
from Western Tech                                              students and      with screened patients from the
Center along with                                            the stakeholders    area.”
the University of                                          who expect               Another plus, Orsack added,
Oklahoma School of                                       highly skilled and      is that this partnership provides
Dentistry formally                                     trained employees         the opportunity for community
dedicated the                                        willing to remain in        residents to obtain preventative
new WTC/                                          western Oklahoma,” said        dental care.
OU Dental                                       Superintendent Orsack.              A dental hygienist is a licensed
                                            Labor statistics project that        health care professional, oral
                                          employment in the dental               health educator and clinician who,
                                       hygiene profession will grow faster       as a co-therapist with the dentist,
                                       than average through the end of           provides preventative, educational,
                                       the decade and dental hygienists          and beneficial services supporting
                                       should continue to be in the top 10       total health for the control of oral
                                       growth careers in the health care         diseases and the promotion of oral
                                       profession.                               health.
                                              The OU dental hygiene                 OU currently partners with
                                               students at Western Tech          two other Oklahoma CareerTechs
                                                 have to meet certain            – Tri County Technology Center in
                                                   requirements and apply        Bartlesville and Southern Oklahoma
                                                    for entrance through         Technology Center in Ardmore.
                                                    the OU Dental School             “This program is very unique
                                                    in Oklahoma City. A          to CareerTech and a great example
                                                    minimum of 60 semester       of CareerTech’s ability to partner
                                                   hours is required from        with higher education to keep
                                                  an accredited college or       young people and jobs in western
                                                 university. These college       Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma State
                                               hours can be earned at            Department of Career & Technology
                                             Southwestern Oklahoma               State Director Phil Berkenbile.
                                           State Universities located in            “This is another opportunity to
                                       Weatherford or Sayre.                     grow jobs in this part of the state.”
                                          “The students’ lecture portions
Oklahoma Chamber Blue Helps Oklahoma
Small Businesses Stay Competitive
   Who says big businesses have       Shield of Oklahoma. “Our sales         similar affordable health plan offered
the edge in providing employee        representatives have been working      through partnerships of Blue Cross
benefits? Thanks to Oklahoma          with chambers across the state to      and Blue Shield, the Oklahoma
Chamber Blue, now small               get the word out that Oklahoma         City Chamber of Commerce and
businesses all over rural Oklahoma    Chamber Blue is available. All of      the Tulsa Metro Chamber. The new
are discovering that you don’t have   these factors, coupled with the fact   Oklahoma Chamber Blue expands
to live in a big city                                                                       affordable coverage
or employ hundreds                                                                          for chamber members
to provide affordable                                                                       statewide.
employee health                                                                                To be eligible for
insurance.                                                                                  Oklahoma Chamber
   “Oklahoma Chamber                                                                        Blue, businesses must
Blue is an attractive                                                                       have fewer than 100
option for small                                                                            employees and be
businesses looking for                                                                      located in one of 62
competitively priced                                                                        counties outside the
health coverage for                                                                         Oklahoma City and
their employees,”                                                                           Tulsa metro areas.
said Wyndham Kidd,                                                                          Businesses also must
president, Blue Cross                                                                       be a member of either
and Blue Shield of                                                                          The State Chamber
Oklahoma. “Oklahoma                                                                         or one of more than
Chamber Blue works by                                                                       200 local chambers of
combining employees                                                                         commerce across the
of small businesses who                                                                     state.
are members of either                                                                          No medical
The State Chamber or                                                                        underwriting is
their local chamber of commerce       that Oklahoma Chamber Blue is          required for Oklahoma Chamber
into one larger insured group. This   O-EPIC approved, have aided            Blue – coverage is guaranteed for
allows small employers to take        greatly in the success of the          eligible businesses. Oklahoma
advantage of health plan options      program.”                              Chamber Blue offers choices of
formerly available only to larger        The Oklahoma Employer/              four separate health plan options to
companies.”                           Employee Partnership for Insurance     employers, including both PPO and
   Since the State Chamber and Blue   Coverage (O-EPIC) is a premium         HMO coverage. Oklahoma Chamber
Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma     assistance program that helps small    Blue also features prescription drug
announced the launch of Oklahoma      business owners with 50 or fewer       benefits, nationwide coverage and
Chamber Blue last January, hundreds   employees offer health coverage to     optional dental coverage.
of Oklahoma small businesses have     their employees.                          “Through the partnership of
taken advantage of competitive           “The State Chamber and Blue         Oklahoma's Chamber Federation
health premiums through the           Cross and Blue Shield are committed    and Blue Cross and Blue Shield,
partnerships of Blue Cross and Blue   to helping Oklahoma businesses         chamber-sponsored health plans now
Shield of Oklahoma and their local    grow stronger, and what better way     will be available in all 77 Oklahoma
chambers of commerce.                 than expanding access to affordable    counties,” Seney said.
   “Our rural chambers of commerce    health coverage?” said Mike Seney,        For more information about
and producers have taken a keen       senior vice president, operations,     Oklahoma Chamber Blue, contact
interest in the success of this       The State Chamber.                     a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
program,” said Travis Johnson,           Businesses in the Tulsa and         Oklahoma marketing representative
manager, 2-50 group marketing         Oklahoma City metro areas already      at 1-888-250-9020 or visit
- west for Blue Cross and Blue        have access to Chamber Choice – a      www.bcbsok.com.

                                                                                              business crossroads 13
The Economic Impact of OMRF

      nnovation. Growth. Lifesaving      that OMRF has an annual impact on                                      significant flow of revenues—grants—
      discoveries. These are the         Oklahoma’s economy of $46 million                                      into Oklahoma from outside the state.
      hallmarks of the Oklahoma          and creates an estimated 1,061 jobs in                                    In 2005, OMRF secured more
      Medical Research Foundation.       the state.                                                             than $27 million in federal grants and
Yet OMRF is more than one of the                                                                                  contracts. Those grant awards help
nation’s premiere biomedical research                                                                             support 543 jobs at OMRF, which
                                                          OMRF’s yearly economic impact on
institutes—it is a powerful economic                           Oklahoma’s economy                                 has an annual payroll of $31 million.
engine in the state of Oklahoma.                        2006                  Post-expansion (projected)
                                                                                                                  And each job at OMRF also creates,
   Any attempt to gauge OMRF’s           $75,000,000
                                                                                                                  on average, almost one additional job
value using conventional economic                                                                                 in the state, generating another $15
analysis inevitably falls short. After                                                                            million in salaries for Oklahomans
all, how do you put a price tag on                                                                                each year.
discovering the cause of Alzheimer’s
disease? Can lives saved, lives                    $0                                                                                   Jobs Generated by OMRF

improved, ever be reduced to figures                                                                                         2006                         Post-expansion (projected)

on a spreadsheet?                                              Source: Dauffenbach/Warner impact report, OMRF

   Still, even in straightforward                                                                                                                                                          2,000

economic terms, the numbers are                                                                                                                          1,644
substantial. A detailed economic            OMRF is like a business
analysis prepared in 2006 by two of      producing a product, and that
the state’s leading economists (Robert   product is medical research. In
Dauffenbach of the University of         addition to deepening scientists’
Oklahoma and Larkin Warner of            understanding of human disease,                                         Source: Dauffenbach/Warner impact report, OMRF

Oklahoma State University) concluded     the research also generates a

14 business crossroads
    “Each year, biomedical researchers     from bench to bedside, ensuring that      knowledge-based economy,” says
attract more than $100 million in out-     patients receive the treatments they      Prescott, “is investing in research
of-state grant dollars to Oklahoma,”       need in the shortest possible time. In    infrastructure today.”
says OMRF President Stephen                addition, every one of these patented        OMRF spin-off companies:
Prescott, M.D., “and that number           discoveries represents a potential             • Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a
will only continue to grow.” Indeed,       revenue source. With each patent that            publicly traded company that is
over the last eight years, OMRF’s          gives birth to a new drug, OMRF                  developing a number of drugs
federal grant funding has more than        - and Oklahoma’s economy - can reap              based on therapeutic antibody
tripled, a growth rate that outpaces all   millions of dollars.                             fragments.
but a handful of biomedical research          Each patented discovery also                • Bridge-Blood Technology (now
organizations in the U.S.                  represents a potential new business              part of Bioenvision, Inc.),
   Discoveries at OMRF led to the first    venture, and OMRF has spun off 11                which is exploring methods
FDA-approved drug for the treatment        biotech start-up companies. These                of protecting the blood supply
of severe sepsis, which claims the         companies, in turn, fuel widespread              from viruses such as HIV,
lives of more than 200,000 Americans       private-sector growth, creating high-            hepatitis and West Nile.
each year. OMRF researchers have           quality, high-paying jobs, many right          • Centaur, Inc. (now a part
also identified the enzyme believed        here in Oklahoma.                                of Renovis, Inc.), which
responsible for Alzheimer’s disease.          With OMRF set to embark on                    is developing drugs for
And a drug with OMRF roots                 a major expansion, its role on the               neurodegenerative diseases.
- Ceprotin, which is used to treat         state’s economy will continue to grow.         • HealthAide, Inc., whose
children suffering from life-threatening   The keystone of this expansion is a              researchers are exploring
blood-clotting complications - became      planned research tower, which, when              therapeutic and other health-
the first drug licensed under the          completed, is projected to house more            related uses of aspartame.
European Union’s new centralized           than 300 new scientists, technicians           • InterGenetics, Inc, which is
procedure.                                 and support staff.                               developing genetic tests to
   Along the way, OMRF has garnered           Adding new research talent will, of           predict cancer. Its initial test
worldwide media attention, from The        course, help OMRF achieve its core               will assess a woman’s risk of
Today Show, The Wall Street Journal        mission—finding treatments and cures             developing breast cancer.
and The New York Times to leading          for deadly diseases. But it will also          • J.K. Autoimmunity, a diagnostics
scientific publications like The New       pay major economic dividends to the              company creating tests for lupus
England Journal of Medicine, Nature        state, in the form of well-compensated,          and other rheumatic diseases.
and Science.                               intellectually rewarding jobs. Indeed,         • Molecular Image, Inc., whose
   The work of OMRF scientists has         the average full-time annual salary              scientists are focusing on the
also yielded over 500 domestic and         at OMRF is $47,676, well above                   use of imaging technologies for
international patents. These patents       Oklahoma’s average wage of $31,856.              early detection and treatment
speed the movement of discoveries             “The key to building tomorrow’s               of cancer and cardiovascular
                                                                                          • ProteomTech, Inc., which
                                                                                            produces proteins for medical
                                                                                            research and drug development.
                                                                                          • Riley Genomics, Inc., which
                                                                                            identifies clinically relevant
                                                                                            biomarkers for drug discovery
                                                                                            and development and for the
                                                                                            creation of diagnostic assays.
                                                                                          • Zapaq, Inc. (now a part of
                                                                                            Athenagen, Inc.), a drug
                                                                                            discovery company targeting the
                                                                                            enzyme thought to be the culprit
                                                                                            behind Alzheimer’s disease.
                                                                                          • ZymeTx, Inc., which develops
                                                                                            and distributes products to
                                                                                            diagnose and treat influenza and
                                                                                            other infectious viral diseases.

                                                                                                      business crossroads 15
Eastern Region Health Care Summit
                                                                                   some people in this region and urge
                                                                                   them to talk to their legislators,” he
                                                                                      State Representative Jerry McPeak,
                                                                                   said state government is working to
                                                                                   deal with funding cuts at the federal
                                                                                   level; however, public participation is
                                                                                   often minimal.
                                                                                      “The voters need to be telling us
                                                                                   what they think is worthwhile. If it’s
                                                                                   important, people need to be telling
                                                                                   elected officials and potential elected
                                                                                   officials.” McPeak said he regards
                                                                                   health care as a complex issue that
                                                                                   affects everyone.

                                                                                       Ms. Norma Noble, Deputy
            he Eastern Workforce         Foundation, Bacone College, Carl          Secretary of the Oklahoma
            Investment Board (EWIB)      Albert State College, Cherokee            Department of Commerce gave
            took a proactive approach    Nation, Connors State College, Creek      a presentation entitled Economic
            in the role as a convener    Nation, Indian Capital Technology         Growth through Sector Strategies
for workforce and economic               Center, Muskogee Regional                 regarding the state of the workforce in
development in October 2006. To          Medical Center, Northeastern State        Oklahoma.
meet the demand for skilled health       University, NEO Hospice, Tahlequah           Sheryl McLain, Vice President of
care professionals in the Eastern        City Hospital, Trinity Hospice, the       the Oklahoma Hospital Association
Oklahoma area, EWIB convened the         University of Oklahoma - George           and Dr. Debbie Blanke, Associate
Eastern Region Health care Coalition     Nigh Rehabilitation Center, Wagoner       Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
to assess the region’s current health    Community Hospital and Workforce          with the Oklahoma State Regents
care providers’ needs, plan for future   Oklahoma.                                 for Higher Education, co-hosted two
needs, and to develop a pipeline             The objectives of the summit          presentations. The first presentation,
to fulfill area needs. By bringing       were to:                                  Oklahoma’s Health Care Industry
together all facets of employment,       • Familiarize summit participants         Workforce: 2006 Report, was a
education and economics (E3), the           with Oklahoma’s Health Care            summary of the Governor’s Council
Coalition plans to create a long-term       Industry Workforce Report              Report on Health Care in Oklahoma.
workforce solution for the critical      • Identify and prioritize strategies in   The second presentation, Oklahoma’s
shortage in our region using the same       response to report recommendations Health Care Resources Center,
approach as the President’s High         • Review local                                                  summarized
Growth Initiative. The Coalition            needs for health                                             the Oklahoma
is in the process of developing a           care workers                                                 Health Care
solutions-based strategic plan using        and formulate a                                              Resources Center,
partner resources in their area of          strategic plan to                                            its partnerships,
strength.                                   meet those needs                                             collaborations
   As a first step toward developing         Dr. Donnie                                                  and goals.
a strategic plan, the Eastern Region     Nero, President                                                     The report
Health care Coalition sponsored a        of Connors State                                                broke its
health care summit at Northeastern       College, facilitated                                            recommendations
State University on November 29,         the meeting and                                                 into three
2006. This summit brought together       stated that the public                                          categories:
education, business, and workforce/      must be involved in                                             education,
economic development leaders to          the process if they                                             employment
assess the Eastern region’s health       want good health                                                and economic
care needs. Some of the local entities   care. “We’re going                Dr. Donnie Nero              development.
involved in the summit were AARP         to have to activate                                            Examples include:
16 business crossroads
• Education: Postsecondary health        for the first time, Oklahoma is able to   the break-out session on Eastern
  profession programs need to            quantify its need for nurses and other    Regional needs was facilitated by the
  increase faculty and expand the        critical health care professionals,”      Indian Capital Technology Center
  amount of clinical space available.    McLain said. If current trends            staff. The working group decided on
  Funds for high-demand professions      continue, Oklahoma would have a           six (6) critical barriers.
  should be prioritized.                 shortage of more than 3,000 nurses,       I. Faculty Salaries
• Employment: Employers must             600 lab technicians, 400 physical
                                                                                   II. Capacity: Clinical and
  promote employee satisfaction          therapists, 300 surgical technologists
                                                                                        Classroom Space and Retention
  and foster positive working            and nearly 200 occupational
  environments.                          therapists. “As a state, we now know      III. Financial Assistance
• Economic development: Engage           that our target is for expanding the      IV. Pipeline, Career Pathways and
  Oklahoma’s workforce and               educational pipeline in order to               Soft Skills
  economic development community         have the number of workers needed         V. Employer Retention
  in implementing plans that address     by the year 2012. It is critical that     VI. Economic Development and
  the need for health care workers.      Oklahoma makes this issue a key                Quality of Life
   “The significance of this study is,   priority and monitors its progress and       Ad-hoc committees were formed
                                         the need for heath care workers on an     to research each of the six critical
                                         ongoing basis.”                           barriers that were identified and
                                            While health care in Oklahoma          to make recommendations to the
                                         suffers chronic staff shortages,          coalition. The committees will
                                         almost 3,927 students are turned          report back to the coalition at
                                         away from medical schools each            the Eastern Region’s Health care
                                         year. The reason: a lack of faculty.      Coalition follow-up session on
                                            A preliminary cost estimate            January 11, 2006 from 9 am to noon
                                         concluded it would cost $4,562,646        at Northeastern State University in
                                         to produce an additional 300              Muskogee.
                                         registered nurses, 130 allied health         For more information regarding
                                         personnel and 15 additional MSN           the Eastern Workforce Investment
L-R: Dr. Debbie Blanke, Dr. Donnie       (Master of Science in Nursing).
Nero, Sheryl McLain                                                                Board, visit www.easternwib.com.
                                            Following the presentations,

Variety Health Center Transforming Former
Elementary School Into Health Clinic
   Variety Health Center has played      the need for Variety’s services is        it located in the heart of Variety’s
a critical role in ensuring good         growing. The number of patients           patient base with easy access to
health of mothers and children           served at all three sites has             public transportation.
in central Oklahoma since 1941.          increased from 10,571 in 1998 to              The transformation of Lafayette
Today, Variety operates a clinic in      18,004 in 2005. In this same time         will be completed in two phases.
downtown Oklahoma City and a             period the number of patient visits       The first phase is the renovation of
satellite clinic serving the Midwest     has more than doubled - from              the first floor of the school into a
City and Del City areas. It also         27,963 to 56,842.                         pediatric clinic. The new pediatric
operates the Variety WIC (women,             The rapid growth in number of         clinic at Layfayette opened it’s
infants, and children) nutrition         patients has made it necessary for        doors in November.
and education program in south           Variety to expand. The 27,112 sq.             In two to three years the second
Oklahoma City that is the second         ft. Lafayette Elementary School, a        phase of project will renovate
largest WIC site in the state.           closed school in south Oklahoma           Lafayette’s upper floor. Both
   Over the years, the community         City, was purchased March 1,              the women’s health clinic and
has changed, but the need for            2004, from Oklahoma City Public           administration will relocate to a
affordable health care for low           Schools for $55,000. This old             new state-of-the-art community
income women and children                but sturdy school was selected as         health center.
continues. Indeed, by any measure,       Variety’s newest site because is

                                                                                                   business crossroads 17
Insurance Program for Manufacturing Successful

            health insurance program      guidelines that allows manufacturers          Vicki Dearing, director of
            designed exclusively for      the opportunity to extend major           business solutions for the Oklahoma
            Oklahoma manufacturers        medical coverage to their employees at    Department of Commerce, said,
            is reaching thousands         a discount.”                              “Companies need a good health-care
of workers who otherwise would               The program consists of eleven         program to attract and retain quality
not be covered. The “Oklahoma             plans, any two of which can be            employees. This program not only fills
Manufacturers Health Plan” is an          selected by individual companies.         this need for many of our state’s small
effort to assist small and medium-        This allows employers to purchase an      and medium-sized manufacturers, it
sized manufacturers who are faced         affordable plan for their employees.      also meets the insurance requirements
with ever-rising premiums. It’s a         The employees have the option of          for Oklahoma’s Quality Jobs Program.
cooperative endeavor between the          “buying up” to a richer plan. The         It also serves as a strong inducement
Central Oklahoma Manufacturers’           core plan features a $35 office visit     for other manufacturers who are
Association (COMA) and BlueCross          co-pay, a prescription drug benefit,      considering moving their operations to
& BlueShield of Oklahoma.                 and a $2,500 annual deductible. The       Oklahoma.”
    As of December 31, 2006, 164          other optional plans feature annual
manufacturers are participating in the    deductibles ranging from $500
plan. More than 5,000 employees           to $1,500, $20 co-pays, and three
and their dependents are now              prescription drug plans.
covered. Thirty percent or 50 of the         All of the insured members in this
manufacturers are offering health         plan will be in their own risk pool,
insurance to their employees for the      resulting in spreading the utilization
first time.                               over a greater number of employees.
    “This type of health insurance        The majority of employees in this pool
program has never been offered to         average 35 years of age which, from
Oklahoma manufacturers as a group         an actuarial point of view, reduces the
due to the complexity of state and        overall risk and resulting premium.
federal regulations,” said Walt Morris,   All of the state’s approximately 4,500
president of Morris Latex Products        manufacturers are eligible for the plan
in Noble and president of COMA.           according to Morris. There are about
“What we have been able to develop        145,000 manufacturing employees in
is a program within state and federal     Oklahoma.

18 business crossroads
   Roy Peters, president of The            the 26 tests are shown to be outside      the Core Plan. Under the Premium
Alliance, said participation is the key.   established norms, the employee will      Assistance Program, businesses
“Manufacturers who comply with             be advised to take the results to their   with 50 or fewer employees will
BlueCross & BlueShield participation       personal physician. The cost can be       receive a subsidy for health insurance
guidelines can go into this program        charged to the wellness benefit in        premiums for employees who are up
with no underwriting and no                each of the plans.                        to 185 percent of the federal poverty
individual health questions,” he said.        To participate, the manufacturing      level.
“It just doesn’t get much easier than      facility must be located in Oklahoma,        “The Premium Assistance Program
that. Manufacturers who are presently      have a North American Industrial          puts a unique perspective on the
covered by BlueCross & BlueShield          Classification System (NAICS)             overall plan,” Morris said. “For
of Oklahoma can switch to this plan.”      code between 2000 and 3999. The           those small businesses that qualify,
   A new benefit was added to the          company must have two or more             the employee pays 15 percent of
program in October, 2006. It offers        employees and be a member of the          the premium, the employer pays 25
employees the opportunity to have          Central Oklahoma Manufacturers’           percent, and the state picks up the
blood work processed through the           Association. Association dues are         remaining 60 percent.”
OU Medical Center Laboratory.              $50 per calendar year.                       More information on the program
ProCheck for Health will provide              All plans are approved under           is available by contacting your
the on-site collection of the blood        Oklahoma’s Premium Assistance             local agent or Glen Mulready
specimens. Within two weeks, the           Program, which was part of the            with BlueCross & BlueShield of
employee will receive the results          tobacco state question passed by state    Oklahoma at (918) 592-9434.
under confidential cover. If any of        voters in November 2004, except for

Moore Welcomes New Development
   2006 marked great change in the         from outlying rural communities           Vaughan Foods, employs 410 people,
city of Moore. An increase in people,      and even for Oklahoma City and            and over 100 new jobs have been
construction and employment, has           Norman residents. The list of             added in the last three years with the
left everyone talking about the            retailers and restaurants in the city     expansion of a product line. Vaughan
growing city. In the celebration of        now includes Gordman’s, Home              has recently undergone a major
100 years of statehood, Moore will         Depot, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s,       capital expansion. $4.6 million has
stand tall among other cities with         Starbucks and a brand new Lowe’s          been invested to add 30,000 square
a professional documentary about           Home Improvement, which opened            feet to its existing 100,000+ square
the history of Moore. This certified       in December. Construction on a new        feet facility. An additional 35 new
centennial project will kick-off with      400,000 square foot power center          jobs are planned over the next 3
a VIP Premier Screening January            will begin in 2007 and will include       years.
19th, 2007, at Moore’s historic Old        various national retailers including         Moore’s largest private employer
School Business Center.                    a J.C. Penny, Office Depot and            is call center giant, Convergys
   Celebrating and learning about          Ross. Also under construction is          Corporation. The Moore site
Moore’s history is an important            a 16-screen luxury movie theater,         employs 1,350 people, with 220
piece of the community as growth           the Warren Theatre, which features        of those positions just added in
in residential and commercial              premium balcony seating with full-        September. Convergys has operated
construction is at an all-time high.       service food and drinks.                  in a 50,000 square foot building in
Moore and surrounding area has                The growth is good news to city        Moore since 1997 and has continued
seen a tremendous surge in capital         leaders and residents of Moore.           to grow with their client, DirecTV.
investment, with the population            “We’ve got people wanting to buy             “While Moore's growth has
growing 19.5 percent since 2000.           and they want to shop locally,” says      been tremendous in these past few
Moore’s population should exceed           Deidre Ebrey, Director of Economic        years, I believe the best is yet to
50,000 in the year 2007. Due to            Development, City of Moore. “We           come. The feeling inside the city
this growth, national and regional         are now capturing a lot of the sales      limits is one of pride and a sense of
retailers are coming by the dozens,        tax we had traditionally leaked to        accomplishment. For those looking
investing in the community and             neighboring cities,”                      in from the outside, I feel the
adding to the quality of life.                Primary employers are growing as       reputation of the city is at an all-
   Moore has already become a              well, adding production, equipment,       time high and that we offer a great
retail destination, not only for its       facilities and jobs to keep up with       deal for those stopping off to shop,
own residents, but also for people         market demands. Food processor,           dine, and recreate,” said Erey.
                                                                                                      business crossroads 19
Building for the Future Must Include
Health Care Workforce
   It may come as no surprise           nurses (LPN) there is a tremendous      this industry to focus on the skilled
when the topic of health care           shortage of registered nurses (RN)      health care worker shortage.
creeps into many of today’s             and other highly skilled health care    Research reveals an anticipated
conversations. Topics may range         professionals. Federal funds are        Oklahoma shortage of 3,135
from recent hospital stays, nursing     being focused on training for all the   registered nurses by 2012. Yet, the
home residency, appointments            advanced health care occupations.       health care shortage is not limited
or outpatient treatment. The            Two to four-year certification          to the nursing profession. An aging
conversations may                                                                          workforce, pay inequities
encompass such                                                                             for health care educators
things as changes                                                                          and a shortage in clinical
in procedures, the                                                                         rotation sites are all
complexity of treatment                                                                    contributors. Health
or whether the wait was                                                                    care facilities struggle
too long.                                                                                  with recruitment efforts
   Few things seem to                                                                      in hospitals, outpatient
have changed more                                                                          clinics and other health
than the advancements                                                                      service organizations in
in medical technology.                                                                     order to meet minimal
Today’s health care                                                                        staffing requirements.
worker requires higher                                                                        Gilbert Hall, chairman
skill levels than                                                                          of Eastern Workforce
ever. Technology has                                                                       Investment Board
affected more than                                                                         (EWIB), is pleased
advanced treatment                                                                         the board has adopted
methods. It is a                                                                           health care as a targeted
major component of                                                                         industry for training
health care impacting                                                                      dollars. An alliance with
everything from record                                                                     Connors State College is
keeping to testing                                                                         targeting federal funding
reports. Even patients                                                                     opportunities to ladder
must be a bit more                                                                         LPN professionals to
technically savvy to                                                                       RN status. This is but
fully comprehend the                                                                       one of several alliances
health care industry.                                                                      in the region to address
   According to the                                                                        the health care career
Oklahoma Department                                                                        shortage. Other alliances
of Commerce, 14                                                                            exist between two-year
percent of Oklahoma’s                                                                      colleges and career
workforce was                                                                              techs to utilize funding,
engaged in the health                                                                      facilities, curriculum and
care industry in 2004                                                                      resources to expedite
creating an additional                                                                     students through health
141,032 indirect jobs. These indirect   programs join with degreed              care occupational training.
jobs occur when wages earned in         programs to top the list of the most       Hall also serves on the board of
the health care sector create other     high-demand                             directors for Muskogee Regional
jobs either through the expenditure     high-wage occupations.                  Medical Center. This board was
of direct earnings or the creation of      The Governor’s Council               recently informed “the U.S. has
jobs needed to support that industry.   for Workforce and Economic              586, 000 budgeted, but unfilled
   While Oklahoma ranks high            Development placed unprecedented        nursing positions.” Hall views
in educating licensed practical         emphasis on collaborating with          current alliances to address this
20 business crossroads
shortage as initial efforts seeing          of nursing as a female-only              American firefighter-emergency tech
the need for a more innovative              occupation.”                             in nursing scrubs. The poster reads
approach.                                      “Thinking outside the box” can        “My strength is my compassion
   “Kansas City utilized innovative         render untapped resources and break      — I’ve seen kindness heal — there’s
methods to address diminished               down perceptions. One example is         nothing I’d rather be.”
educational capacities” Hall said.          a poster housed on the fifth floor of       Reach Debi Busch, Business
“Looking at everything from K-12            the Muskogee campus of Connors           Services & Outreach Coordinator
educational deficiencies, a shortage        State College. The poster targets the    for the Eastern Workforce
in classroom/clinical capacity,             medical profession and features a        Investment Board, at
and tapping into the perception             physically fit, well muscled African     dbusch@easternwib.com.

Red River Partnership

             ver the past few months,       Lake Murray Lodge in Ardmore. Scott      providers. Participants will meet to
             partners of the Business       Sheely from Lancaster, Pennsylvania      receive information on current issues
             Services Team in the           provided a presentation on industry      and trends impacting these industries
             Southern Region have           clusters, their impact on the economy    and to discuss these issues as well
combined time, talent and resources         in Oklahoma, and how this affects the    as worker pipeline development,
to work together to assist employers        way we do business services, gaps,       recruitment, ESL and other types of
and communities. On October 4th,            barriers and future planning efforts.    incumbent working training. They will
team members hosted an Employer’s           Dewey Thompson, from the University      also receive information on services
Summit on “legal issues in the              of Missouri at Columbia, provided        available to assist with business and
workplace” at the Ardmore Convention        a presentation on becoming an HR         industry needs. In addition, a similar
Center. The event was a huge success        Consultant for business and making       summit is being planned with the
with almost 160 employers attending         effective presentations to business.     Eastern and Southeastern Workforce
and receiving Society for Human             The retreat was a huge success with      Boards Business Services Teams to
Resources Management credit hours.          attendees gaining valuable knowledge     be held in McAlester in the spring of
Also in October, upon hearing of the        and up-to-date practices for providing   2007. Another Employer’s Summit for
impending lay off of 160+ workers due       services to business while enjoying      legal issues is also being planned for
to the transition of Ethan Allen from a     good food and spending quality time      the spring of 2007.
manufacturing facility to a distribution    networking in a relaxing location. The      Participation on the Southern
center, the team quickly pulled together    team also continues to participate in    Business Services Team has been a
with community leaders to organize          the Texoma Regional Consortium, an       very rewarding experience for me. I
a job fair. The job fair was held at        interstate economic planning effort      have learned about the business and
the Kiamichi Technology Center on           with the Texoma Workforce Board.         industry needs in my area and services
Friday, October 13th with close to          Team members have been active in         available to business and what’s going
50 employers and more than 120 job          providing assistance for gathering       on in the “real world” of business
seekers attending. This was the team’s      and validating data and in developing    aside from what you read in reports
third job fair for 2006 and their success   a regional plan for the future in        and hear on the news. I have met
in job fair planning and execution          promoting workforce and economic         many interesting people and developed
has lent to communities seeking their       growth and development throughout        great friendships along this journey.
expertise in these endeavors.               southern Oklahoma and northern           If you are an employer or workforce/
   In addition, the team continues          Texas.                                   economic development professional
to strive for individual and team               Future planned activities for        or service provider, and would
professional development through            the team include a Manufacturing,        like to become a part of this team,
participation in workshops and other        Transportation Distribution and          request assistance for your business
team efforts. On November 14th              Logistics Summit planned in January      or community, or would just like to
and 15th, team members invited the          at the Convention Center in Ardmore,     request additional information, please
Southeastern, Eastern and South             hosting employers, legislators,          contact Darla Thomas, Coordinator,
Central Workforce Board Business            workforce professionals, Workforce       toll free at 1-866-493-5465 or email at
Services Team members to a                  Boards, educators, economic              Darla_Holt@yahoo.com.
professional development retreat at         developers, tribal leaders and service

                                                                                                      business crossroads 21
It All Started with “Vision 2025”
    Several years ago Tulsa created a       Metro Chamber, WINS Workforce                 industry specialists and researchers
vision for the future of its region. Part   Solutions for Business, and Workforce         ranging from a venture capitalist to the
of that vision included funding regional    Oklahoma. Together representatives            president of a company that provides
economic development and capital            from Workforce Tulsa, TCC and                 services to the food industry relative to
improvements considered critical to its     the Tulsa Metro Chamber began                 the manufacture and delivery of safe,
future. Health care and education were      formulating ideas for Tulsa’s first           high-quality food products. The second
at the top of voters’ minds in 2003         biotech forum. Bring in futurist Ed           panel was experts from the educational
as they approved a 13-year sales tax        Barlow, and the focus of the biotech          field who were focused on developing
increase for Tulsa County. Included         forum was expanded to include all             the necessary human capital that will
in Tulsa’s vision was $8 million            of the ‘new sciences’ of life, bio, and       support job growth in this emerging
to construct a 34,000 square-foot           nanotechnologies.                             industry.
Health Sciences and Biotechnology                    While the planning efforts for a         To wrap-up, panelists, sponsors
Learning Center.                                       forum continued, Workforce         and forum attendees participated in a
    As with most regions, the                            Tulsa worked with Tulsa          think-tank session to formulate ways
future of health care is at the                          Community College and            to leverage community organizations
top of everyone’s list, but                               youth from Workforce            and resources to take advantage of the
the Oklahoma Department                                  Oklahoma’s In-School and         opportunities within the molecular
of Commerce has added                                                                     field. As information was shared, it
biotechnology to its radar as an                                                          became evident that the majority of
additional target opportunity for                                                                      college and university
state economic development. Realizing                                                                       researchers were
biotechnology is one of the most                                                                               working in silos and
research-intensive industries in the                                                                             wanted a vehicle
world, Workforce                                                                                                  established in
Tulsa also                                                                                                        order to share
followed suit                                                                                                     information.
by identifying                                                                                                      Today
biotech as one                                                Out-of-School                                     an Advisory
of its seven                                                 Youth programs to                                Committee has
priority segments                                            expose them to the                           been established
for area growth with a priority on                           field of biotechnology       to bring together representatives
providing the emerging industry                             at a workshop                 from Life Sciences, Biotechnology,
with a skilled workforce.                                  prepared specifically          Nanotechnology, Information
    Workforce Tulsa knows that for                       for them. Some of the            Technology and Advanced Materials.
every one researcher, an average of five           first marketing efforts for the        Among other things, the role of this
biotech lab technicians are needed to       new biotech program were targeted             group is to help establish the specific
support the billions of dollars spent on    toward high school age students and           skills a program graduate should
research and development every year.        dropouts. These youth were able to            possess to function in an occupation,
An excellent avenue to create a pipeline    perform experiments relating to disease       publicize the certificates and degrees
of lab technicians for researchers was      transmission and gel electrophoresis          offered in the areas of molecular
to collaborate with Tulsa Community         where they extracted DNA from                 science, recruit students, and place
College (TCC) during the building and       strawberries. It will be interesting to see   graduates into jobs. In other words,
rollout of their Vision 2025 funded new     if one of these workshop participants         this committee will help Tulsa prepare
Health Sciences and Biotechnology           becomes one of Tulsa’s first biotech          for its future by leveraging the
Learning Center.                            graduates.                                    communities’ research, organizational,
    The collaboration didn’t stop there,        March 31, 2006 marked the date            workforce, educational and financial
however. Knowing the importance of          of the first Molecular Forum in Tulsa         resources.
creating an awareness for the emerging      held at the Van Trease Performing                 To reach Nancy Robbins of the
biotech industry, support came from         Arts Center for Education at TCC. In          Tulsa Business Services Team - call
TCC, Oklahoma State Regents                 addition to a keynote speaker, two            her office at 1-918-596-7671, cell at
for Higher Education, Oklahoma              different panel discussions were held.        1-918-810 0488 or email
Department of Commerce, Tulsa               The first panel consisted of leading edge     nancyrobbins@ci.tulsa.ok.us.

22 business crossroads
Las Vegas Style Casino Opens in Shawnee

           he East Central Area has    the operations, with Blue Wave         the Seminole economy. Blue Wave
           some exciting things        providing bus transportation. The      Boats continues to use the Seminole
           happening. FireLake         Seminole Workforce Center assisted     Workforce Center exclusively for all
           Grand Casino has            Blue Wave with obtaining staff to      their staffing and workforce needs.
opened at I-40 and Dale exit in        make this commute of well over two        In the East Central Workforce In-
Shawnee, hiring approximately          hours each day. Once the Seminole      vestment Area, please contact Cheryl
1000 new employees. When               facility opened, additional staff      Cook, East Central Area Workforce
faced with the task of recruiting      was hired to complete their staffing   System Coordinator, for all your
candidates to fill approximately       needs. Today, Blue Wave Boats in       Business Services needs. Cheryl can
1000 openings, the Shawnee             Seminole employs 104, with the         be reached at 405-275-7800 (office),
Workforce Center embraced the          current need for an additional 35.     405-203-2012 (cell) or email
challenging opportunity. Recruitment   This was a tremendous boost to         Cheryl.Cook@oesc.state.ok.us.
began and referrals were made for
all positions from food service to
security. With the help of Workforce
Oklahoma and their staffing
assistance, FireLake Grand Casino
had a magnificent grand opening!
Workforce Oklahoma continues
to assist FireLake Grand Casino
with their workforce needs.
    Seminole welcomed Blue Wave
Boats to their community this
summer. Blue Wave Boats relocated
their business from Checotah to
Seminole, opening an entirely new
facility. Prior to the new facility
in Seminole opening, Blue Wave
requested employees from the
Seminole area who were willing to
commute to Checotah to learn

                                                                                              business crossroads 23
WestOak Industries Gains Higher Efficiencies
Using Oklahoma’s Career Ready Certificate
   Located in Erick, Oklahoma,            WestOak needed to reduce turnover          approved curriculum, the company
WestOak Industries prides itself as       and training time, which was taking        can evaluate whether or not they
serving as the premier manufacturer       a toll on the company’s revenue. In        are performing at capacity, and if
of printed circuit boards for             hopes of boosting the company’s            some employees are better suited
industrial applications, including        efficiency, WestOak turned to the          elsewhere. Additionally, all potential
the transportation, food, agriculture,    Career Readiness initiative for            employees are tested as a part of the
sanitation, and oil and gas industries.   guidance.                                  application process, and WestOak
Serving as a full service facility for       Early in 2006 WestOak began             can distinguish which workers will
its customers since 1973, WestOak         using Oklahoma’s Career Ready              perform better in the circuit board
Industries’ production focuses            Certificate (CRC) to take the              manufacturing.
on circuit board hole assembly,           guesswork out of the hiring process.        Following are the dramatic results:
surface mount area manufacturing,         Quality employees are always                    · Reduced turnover
testing, inventory, inspection and        hard to find in today’s workforce               · Employee retention rate
engineering.                              environment so they believed the                  increased
   To remain premier in their             CRC may be their answer.                        · Reduced employee training
industry, WestOak had to reduce              WestOak leadership did not have                time
turnover. Turnover is expensive           to wait long to see the results of their        · Fewer production errors
since training new employees              investment. Early on in the program             · Taking the guesswork out of
increase training costs and lost          they notices fewer production                     hiring decisions
production time. They also needed         errors and high efficiencies. More              · Established legal defensibility
assistance adhering to ISO 9000           improvement came and today all the                in the selection process
standards and quality business            employees are assessed and potential            · Maximized efficiency from
practices.                                applicants are assessed before they               training practices
   In the past, WestOak has struggled     are interviewed.                                · Improved effectiveness of
to maximize efficiency in its hiring         After WestOak resolved to                      training dollars
process. In order to ensure the           participate in the Career Readiness             · Assisted in adhering to ISO
hiring of competent employees,            pilot program, the company was                    9000 standards and ensured
the company needed to revamp              provided with a uniform, cost-                    quality business practices
the ways in which it performs             effective and easily accessible               “It was time for WestOak to be
recruiting, training, retention, and      format for hiring entry-level skilled      proactive in the hiring process. By
manufacturing. Ultimately, WestOak        positions. By creating a bottom line       using this tool we are trying to avoid
seeks to increase ROI by placing the      for hiring, WestOak began hiring           costly errors in placement, and create
right person in the right position.       individuals with relevant skill sets       more job satisfaction.”
   In a highly specialized industry       for the industry, and subsequently            – J.W. Rosson, President and
like WestOak, it is imperative for        reduced turnover and excess                      CEO of WestOak Industries
employees to possess the skill sets       resources spent on training.                  For more information about
necessary for success in the company.        Since all current employees             WestOak Industries, please visit
Situated in Western Oklahoma,             have been tested by the ACT-               www.westoakindustries.com
24 business crossroads
Pioneer Technology
Center “Pioneers” Oklahoma’s
Career Readiness Certificate
   Business and industry                 Center’s commitment to Career            qualify and retain a high-skilled,
representatives continually              Readiness Certificates, there has        high-wage career.
challenged Workforce Investment          been a dramatic improvement in              Career Readiness Certificates
Boards across the state to assist        the caliber of students and clients      provide a common, objective
them find applicants who possess         that have completed their career         language for discussing workplace
the needed skills to perform a job,      education and training program.          skills. For example, a level five in
or the demonstrated ability to learn     The upward trend is expected to          Applied Mathematics means the
those skills, and progress in business   continue, and both the employers         same thing to a business as it does
and industry.                            and the community will enjoy the         to other schools throughout the state
   Located in Ponca City, Pioneer        benefits. The worker will also have      or even the country. These skills
Technology Center provides               a portable credential(s) that shows      levels have also been correlated
education and training for both high     they possess the certain fundamental     to the skills required for specific
school students and adults, in high-     skills needed in the workplace.          professions and to many state
demand occupations.                         After a long struggle to determine    educational standards. Using this
   Each year, more than 8,000            the most efficient way to evaluate       system, teachers and counselors
students enroll in a variety of          the skill level of students, Pioneer     can help students evaluate their
programs and services, including         Technology Center decided to ask         priorities and their goals relative
technical training and certifications.   for help from an outside source.         to where their current skill levels
They Center grabbed the challenge        Pioneer Technology Center sought         are and help them to gain the skill
and committed to using the               out a more uniformed system for          required for a career.
Oklahoma Career Readiness                evaluating the skill levels of its          The Career Readiness Certificate
Certificate, a comprehensive skills      employees and students, as well as       is also helping build strong
assessment process.                      finding a way to establish which         partnerships with business and
   Pioneer Technology designed           skills were needed for certain job       industry by targeting and identifying
a process that assesses a student's      descriptions in and around the           their needs. WorkKeys is an
skills relative to a job and improving   North Central Region of Oklahoma.        important tool in increasing the
a student's basic workplace skills       Failing to prepare a student or client   skills of our workforce by assessing
to successfully qualify and retain       for a particular skill level, may        the basic skills of employees
a high-skilled, high-wage career.        result in high turnover and increased    and closing identified skill gaps
The results were dramatic and            entry-level training, which adversely    through the KeyTrain curriculum.
sustaining. Employers in the area        affects the growth of business and       This, in turn, allows employees an
now have a system to take the            industry.                                opportunity to attain the skills they
guesswork out of hiring decisions           The Career Readiness Certificate,     need and hopefully advance to a
when looking for skilled workers.        along with WorkKeys and the              higher paying job. Additionally, it
   Career counselors have a              KeyTrain curriculum, are helping         creates a pipeline of future workers
common, objective language for           area businesses meet workforce           for area businesses.
discussing workplace skills and are      challenges by better preparing              “In today’s business world of
able to help students evaluate their     students and by providing a              those who are either innovating
priorities and their goals relative to   method for setting basic skill           or dying, [Career Readiness] is
where their current skill levels are.    requirements for jobs, for assessing     extremely relevant in meeting the
They then can and provide a method       a student's skills relative to a job,    needs of business, as it allows us to
for setting basic skill requirements     and for improving a student's basic      assess, adapt, and respond quicker
for jobs. After Pioneer Technology       workplace skills to successfully         than anyone else.”

                                                                                                  business crossroads 25
Oklahoma Launches Career
Readiness Certificate
   Within today’s global economy,       Certificate is a clear indication of     Certificates. Companies that have
finding and keeping a job requires      what the recipient can do in terms       used this program have seen reduced
higher skill levels than ever before.   of skills needed in the workplace.       turnover among employees, as
Employers need workers with “real       It’s a stand-alone credential, or        well as improved productivity and
world” skills.                          a complement to the high school          training proficiency.
   The state of Oklahoma is             diploma, GED or college degree.             “Using Career Readiness
taking action to help build and            “The Career Readiness Certificate     assessment has allowed us to select
identify truly skilled workers by       gives employers                                                the most
implementing an initiative called the   a way to quickly                                               qualified
Career Readiness Certificate. This is   recognize which                                                individuals
a state-wide and nation-wide effort     candidates                                                     to join our
to measure, validate, and certify       best match the                                                 company,” said
worker skills.                          employer’s                                                     Ted Rutherford,
   “The information that job            needs,” said                                                   IT and Training
applicants will give to employers is    Amy Polonchek,                                                 Manager with
similar to the admissions test scores   Interim                                                        Solo Cup.
that students give to colleges,” said   Executive                                                      “The pre-
Norma Noble Deputy Secretary            Director of                                                    employment
of Commerce for Workforce               the Oklahoma                                                   assessments
Development. “Colleges use scores       Department                                                     have boosted
to help determine if a student is       of Commerce.                                                   our efficiency,
ready for college-level coursework.     “In this way,                                                  and helped us
Businesses use the ACT Career           it will be a big                                               grow with a
Readiness                                                                                              better qualified
Certificate to                                                                                         team.”
help determine                                                                                            The
if a job applicant                                                               Career Readiness Certificate is
is ready for a                                                                   being implemented through the
specific job or                                                                  Governor’s Council for Workforce
required training                                                                and Economic Development.
programs.”                                                                       Partner organizations include:
   Career                                                                        Oklahoma Department of Commerce
Readiness                                                                        (ODOC), Oklahoma Employment
measures a                                                                       Security Commission (OESC),
person’s ability                                                                 Oklahoma Department of Career
to communicate                                                                   and Technology Education,
and solve                                                                        Oklahoma State Regents for Higher
problems. Using                                                                  Education, State Department of
a database of                                                                    Education, Oklahoma Department
more than 12,000                                                                 of Human Services, Oklahoma
job profiles, the                                                                Department of Rehabilitation
program also identifies required        boost to economic development in         Services, and Office of Handicap
skills for a specific job and helps     Oklahoma.”                               Concerns.
identify necessary training for            Over the past year, Oklahoma             For more information regarding
current employees or potential          has been testing the program in          Oklahoma’s Career Readiness
employees.                              several areas across the state. During   Certificate, please contact Susan
   For potential employees or career    this time, Oklahoma has issued           Kuzmic at (405) 815-5204 or
seekers, the Career Readiness           more than 3,800 Career Readiness         susan_kuzmic@okcommerce.gov.

26 business crossroads
Solo Cup in Ada Raises Employee Retention
Rates and Saves Thousands in Training Costs
    The Challenge                           year,” explained Rutherford.                To learn more about Career
    High employee turnover was causing          The key to a successful company is    Readiness Certificates and other
staff at Solo Cup to expend resources       a strong team of qualified employees.     workforce initiatives, go to www.
and excessive hours in the hiring and       In the wake of implementation of the      OKcommerce.gov/workforce or call the
training process. Hiring managers           Career Readiness Certificate, Solo        Workforce Solutions Team at
recognized that employee skills must        Cup has seen a “boost in their bottom     800-879-6552
be assessed within the context of the       line” by being more familiar with their
industry to ensure that they are well       employees and job profiles.
qualified for employment at Solo Cup.           Headquartered in Highland Park,
But how?                                    Illinois, Solo Cup Company is a $2.3
    The Career Readiness Certificate        billion publicly reporting company
    Once Solo Cup resolved to increase      with a large manufacturing plant in
its efficiency by decreasing turnover       Ada, Oklahoma. Exclusively focused
rates, it turned to the Career Readiness    on the manufacture of disposable
Certificates and the services that the      tableware and packaging for the
ACT-approved initiative provides. In        consumer/retail, foodservice,
order to create a baseline for hiring       packaging, and international
procedures, Ted Rutherford, president       markets, the Ada manufacturing
of the Solo Cup manufacturing plant         plant produces 33 million units
in Ada, authorized each applicant           of plastic, paper, and foam
to undergo the Career Readiness             disposables every 24 hour period.
Certificate program. By comparing           Employees
the needed skills of the job with each      • Total Employees: 400+
applicant’s skill level, the company        • Over the past 2 two years,
could more effectively place the right         100% of Solo Cup employees
person in the right positions, thus            who have been hired had a
reducing turnover. In addition, the            score of at least 3 on their
company could assess whether or not            Career Readiness Certificates.
current employees were performing              One Year
at capacity or if there was room for
                                            • Reduced turnover
    After turning to the Career Readiness
                                            • Employee retention rate
Certificate to improve hiring processes,
                                               increased to 81% in June of
Solo Cup has experienced improvement
in more than one area. Since 100% of
                                            • Reduced employee training time
job applicants at Solo Cup are required
                                            • Fewer production errors
to undergo Career Readiness testing,
                                            • Taking the guesswork out of
the retention rate of the company has
                                               hiring decisions
soared to 81% as of June 2006. Overall,
                                            • Established legal defensibility in
the Career Readiness Certificate helped
                                               the selection process
the company operate more efficiently,
                                            • Maximized efficiency from
and provided the company with a more
                                               training practices
future-focused hiring plan.
                                            • Improved effectiveness of training
    “Our involvement with Career
Readiness has already shown progress
beyond the goal set for 2006. The pilot     Services Used
program is being utilized and we are        • Career Readiness Testing
in the process of developing a specific     • KeyTrain
profile for our most demanding jobs.            For more information about Solo
I expect great results within the next      Cup, please visit www.solocup.com.
From the Governor’s Council
           nsuring adequate numbers        As a state, we now know what          our success. A well-trained, well-
           of health care workers       our target is for expanding the          equipped workforce equates to
           are available to care        educational pipeline in order to         economic strength and a competitive
           for Oklahoma citizens        have the number of workers needed        advantage for our state. By investing
will take action, innovation and        by the year 2012. Allocating             now in the current and future health
creativity now on the part of           education funds to solve faculty         care workforce, Oklahoma will
leaders from health care, our           shortages, and increasing the            ensure that the state preserves access
educational systems, economic and       number of clinical training sites        to needed medical services, as well
workforce development entities          for students were included in the        as increase the state’s attractiveness
and government. The workforce           report’s recommendations as key          as a desirable place to work, play
shortage projections published in       to increasing the number of health       and live.
Oklahoma’s Health Care Industry         care workers needed in the state. In
Workforce: 2006 Report are              addition, Oklahoma’s health care
very conservative and extremely         industry and its educational and other
alarming. The projections do not        key partners must develop new and
adjust for the higher demand for        innovative programs to recruit and
health care services needed by          retain a sufficient number of highly-
aging Baby Boomers, the reduced         trained health care workers and must
supply of workers due to anticipated    collaborate to find solutions that
retirements from the current health     work at the local level.
care workforce, or the existing need       Recruitment efforts must begin
to improve the overall health status    much earlier so that K-12 students
of Oklahomans.                          have more opportunities to explore
   There is good news, however.         the multitude of options available.
1) For the first time, Oklahoma         Students on a health care pathway
is able to quantify its need for        need a curriculum rich in science
nurses and other critical health care   and math well before their junior
professionals; 2) Health care is a      and senior years in high school.
significant economic engine for            Retaining loyal employees is the
our state and in most rural areas,      best recruitment strategy, so we         Sheryl McLain, MS
hospitals are among the top three       must continue providing meaningful       Vice President
employers in the community; and         work, a positive work environment        Oklahoma Hospital Association
3) Many key leaders -- aware of         and career growth opportunities for      Member, GCWED
the shortages and their expected        current workers. Finding creative
progression in future years -- began    new ways in which to best utilize
dialoguing and partnering more than     the skills and knowledge of our
five years ago to explore solutions,    mature workers is imperative.
so are positioned to begin aggressive      Collaboration among all
action now with data in hand.           stakeholders will be critical to

About the Governor’s Council for Workforce
and Economic Development
Established in early 2005, the          efforts in order to give Oklahoma        is competitive, advances the
goal of the Governor’s Council          a competitive advantage as a             economic objectives of the state
for Workforce & Economic                desirable place to work and live.        and local communities, and meets
Development (GCWED) is to               One of the Council’s five broad-         the employment interest of industry
integrate Oklahoma’s workforce          based goals is “to ensure that           clusters and employer groups.”
and economic development                Oklahoma has a labor pool that

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