Larry Mocha, CEO of APSCO Inc., said his company has enjoyed massive growth and success over the years. Yet there’s one major issue holding the company back.
“I don’t think Tulsa can support my company’s growth,” he said. “I don’t think we have the workforce.”
Mocha said he believes that’s a common problem for many area manufacturers,
so that’s why he and other companies, schools and organizations have come
together to form Dream It Do It Northeast Oklahoma.
The coalition, which works to generate young adult interest in manufacturing careers, held its official kickoff breakfast Wednesday at the Tulsa Community College Center for Creativity.
Stephanie Cameron, executive director of Dream It Do It Northeast Oklahoma, said part of the coalition’s goal is to clear up misconceptions among Millennials.
“We want to let them know the diversity of jobs available in manufacturing, as well as the levels of salary they earn,” she said.
The coalition is a branch of the national Dream It Do It campaign organized by the National Association of Manufacturers.
Members of the Northeast Oklahoma branch include OK2Grow, Broken Arrow Economic Development Corporation, Tulsa Regional Chamber, Workforce Tulsa, Department of Commerce, Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, Tulsa C Public Schools, Union Public Schools, Broken Arrow Public Schools, American Airlines, APSCO, NOV Enerflow, Tulsa Community College, TulsaTech, OSU Institute of Technology and many others.
Dream It Do It Northwest Oklahoma plans to hold classroom visits, tours of facilities and other activities, as well as facilitate internship opportunities, Cameron said. This campaign will reach a peak during the week of Sept. 29 through Oct. 3.
Mocha said that, while he as a college degree, it’s important to let students know there are other paths open to them. “We’ve told people that if they don’t have a college degree, they won’t make it,” he said.
Cameron said there’s an estimated 600,000 manufacturing jobs unfilled nationally. If those are filled they could create 400,000 additional jobs, and boost the gross domestic product by an estimated 1.3 percent.
Mocha said that he’s optimistic manufacturing can make a comeback in this country.
“If you look at the numbers, manufacturing is really getting ready to rise,” he said.
Robert Evatt 918-581-8447