This week, our Senate Enterprise, Commerce and Tourism Committee held 4 interim research varied points dealing with our state’s enterprise neighborhood.

The primary checked out what’s stopping Oklahomans from returning to the workforce. This has been a query on so many minds as all over the place we glance there are “Assist Wished” indicators, particularly within the hospitality and restaurant industries. The place did all the employees go? We heard from the Oklahoma Coverage Institute, the Oklahoma Youngster Care Useful resource and Referral Company, the Oklahoma Metropolis Chamber of Commerce, and the Oklahoma Metropolis Black Chamber of Commerce. Issues mentioned included lack of kid care or reasonably priced little one care, low wages and COVID anxiousness within the workforce. Greater than half of Oklahomans stay in a toddler care desert, which means there aren’t any little one care services in shut proximity to households. Some examples included: Cimarron County has no facilities; Beaver County has solely three and Texas County has 20. Moreover coping with COVID quarantines and closures, little one care facilities Enterprise interim studiesy and rigorous testing and licensing necessities. Discovering nontraditional little one care that’s open early within the morning and late within the evenings is one other downside for working dad and mom. Small companies are additionally struggling to compete with giant firms which are providing $15-$18 an hour beginning pay, well being advantages and telework choices, drastically shrinking their pool of candidates. The work drive is altering, and native and state officers are going to must make some coverage adjustments as nicely to higher help small companies and dealing households alike.

I chaired the subsequent research, which examined equitable procurement for minority and women-owned companies. We heard from small enterprise house owners, neighborhood growth leaders and authorities officers. One suggestion to assist extra minority companies compete for presidency contracts was to interrupt down the initiatives into smaller sections. Most of those contracts are huge and might solely be received by giant firms however breaking the contracts down into manageable initiatives would assist small companies have the ability to higher compete. One other proposal was to replace statute to permit counties to start out minority and women-owned enterprise applications.

Our committee additionally regarded on the financial advantages of cultural tourism, just like the Nationwide Civil Rights Path. Shows have been made by the Oklahoma Historic Society and the Division of Tourism. We additionally realized in regards to the financial affect skilled by different states on the path and in regards to the present tourism sights from a few of Oklahoma’s 13 authentic Black cities.

Lastly, we studied how our state can improve alternatives and the standard of life for Oklahomans with disabilities via transportation and workforce growth. I additionally chaired this research the place we heard in regards to the issues dealing with these residents in addition to options from Oklahoma ADAPT, the Division of Rehabilitative Companies, the Oklahoma Transit Affiliation, and the Grand Gateway Financial Growth Affiliation. We additionally realized about funding alternatives from the Oklahoma Division of Transportation.

In case you’re interested by any of those points, you’ll find the assembly shows on the Senate web site at www. oksenate.gov.

In closing, I need to as soon as once more congratulate Hannah Cross of Newkirk for successful the State Primary Road Hero of the 12 months Award. This superb 15-year-old led a drive to construct the Stroll of Warriors on the Kay County Courthouse to honor America’s veterans. The pavers have been put in and the dedication happened final Sunday. It’s nice to see Oklahoma youth main the cost. District 10 was nicely represented on the awards ceremony, and I need to additionally congratulate all those that have been nominated for this prestigious award and in your dedication to Primary Road Oklahoma.

You possibly can contact me by calling (405) 521-5581 or emailing [email protected]