Putting Oklahomans to Work
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.
Tribal nations have put more than 113,000 Oklahomans to work. These high-quality jobs span a vast set of industries from tourism to transportation, health care to hospitality, government services to social work. If tribes were an industry, they would rank as the 11th largest in the state by employment.
The benefit goes well beyond jobs. Any time you bring a business into a community, there’s more to gain than just wages going into an employee’s pocket. The ripple effect from that economic infusion of cash going straight to the citizens is critical for economic development. Kyle Eastwood, Mayor of Anadarko, notes that “it’s the only way that we grow rural Oklahoma.”
“Every year, tribes are investing large sums of money in physical infrastructure,” says Kyle Dean, Associate Professor of Economics at Oklahoma City University. “Those construction projects largely go unnoticed, but they’re very, very important in terms of the jobs that they provide.”
Larry Rooney, President of Manhattan Construction Group, concurs. “We’ve done over 60 projects with various tribes, and it’s been about half of our revenue here in Oklahoma the last 12 years,” he says. “In terms of the impact to the construction industry and the number of people that employs and the type of projects that we do, it’s been a pretty big impact.”