The Edmond Sun

July 22, 2011

Fallin may strike gold

The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Gov. Mary Fallin recently told a sold-out audience at the Tulsa Metro Chamber that Oklahoma must find “exotic industries” in order to expand the job market. She wants to find a niche business sector where Oklahoma can take the lead and create a game-changing atmosphere for business growth, she told the business leaders.

And the governor was ready with an example of what she meant — expanding the aerospace industry already here by targeting the unmanned aerial vehicle sector. Oklahoma has a strong military presence and we already have several defense contractors and a munitions plant in McAlester. It makes sense to expand those job-creation opportunities by inviting more of those types of businesses to make their home in Oklahoma.

Another key factor in this line of reasoning is that these are not minimum-wage jobs, either. They create an opportunity for out-of-work engineers and those in the engineering programs at state colleges, and hopefully it will lure other engineers to move here with their families in order to enjoy Oklahoma’s low cost of living.

One of the key issues for Oklahoma leaders to be concerned with in job recruitment is to find ways of ensuring that the jobs lured here are truly quality jobs offered by quality employers. Too many times in the past, Oklahoma has given incentives to companies that failed to sustain their end of the bargain for the long term. Oklahomans need job opportunities and not empty promises.

If Gov. Fallin can successfully pursue her goal of moving exotic industries to Oklahoma, all of our state’s residents potentially will benefit.