Jobs and Opportunity

Strong Tribes Have Created a New World of Opportunity in Oklahoma

Strong jobs and opportunity are at the core of healthy homes, communities, cities and states.

Perhaps more than any other factor, stable employment positively impacts a family’s health care, education, civic involvement and quality of life.

For the past 15 years, Native American tribes of Oklahoma have created one of the most remarkable economic success stories of modern times: and as a result, countless Oklahomans of all backgrounds have gone to work at brand-new, high-quality jobs.

The Economic Impact of Tribal Nations in Oklahoma Fiscal Year 2017

Oklahoma Tribal Nations are major drivers of Oklahoma’s overall economy, ranking as a Top 10 industry.

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These jobs span a vast set of industries, including construction, transportation, health care, tourism, hospitality, government services, social work and more.

If we didn't provide that employment and those opportunities with the resources that we gained from gaming, and our other economic development pursuits, then that's jobs and wages that would not be benefiting local communities where those employees are from.

Kimberly Teehee
Vice President of Government Relations
Cherokee Nation Businesses
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And, critically, because the tribes are primarily based in rural areas, many of those jobs are rural, as well, providing a counterweight to trends of urbanization that other states have proven powerless to address.

You could say that for every job a tribal nation creates, the State of Oklahoma gets two in return.

Elijah McIntosh
Secretary
Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Commerce
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New Hope For Rural Oklahoma

All over the country, health care in rural counties has been decimated. But in Oklahoma, the tribes have stepped into an increasing void and made key investments in new facilities to ensure that coverage would continue. Not only do those investments create important new jobs that would not otherwise exist, but they also have a side benefit on the surrounding economy.

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Stay up to date on the stories about all the unique ways state-tribal partnerships work for the benefit of everyone in the state.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated that the U.S. lost 8.2% of GDP due to illness-related productivity costs—so access to quality health care makes a critical difference to rural businesses.

The Chickasaw Nation Medical Center is a 370,000 square-foot facility in Ada

A tribe doesn't have shareholders. It invests back in its people, back in its communities, back in its programs—so a tribe is just taking every dollar it makes and plowing it back into the economy, so you're actually getting a better return.

Scott Meacham
Treasurer
State of Oklahoma (2005-2011)
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All across the state, in towns like Durant, Ada, Okmulgee, Okemah and countless more, rural Oklahomans are experiencing a renewed sense of optimism and hope—fueled, of course, by jobs.

When you think about 96,000 employees working for tribes and nations and you multiply that in economic development terms, now we’re not talking just 100,000 jobs, we’re probably talking 400,000 or 500,000 jobs.

David Thompson
President & CEO
InvesTrust Wealth Management
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