Gov. Stitt Celebrates A New Workforce Initiative With Ceremonial Signing

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law legislation to tackle workforce challenges in Oklahoma. 

Wednesday, June 14th 2023, 5:23 pm


Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law legislation to tackle workforce challenges in Oklahoma. 

Senate Bill 621 is known as the Workforce Transformation Act. The new law creates the state's first workforce commission, who will be tasked with directing the state’s workforce development strategy and initiatives.

“Together we're building a stronger Oklahoma,” Rep. Brian Hill, (R-Mustang) said.

With the goal of boosting the economy and making Oklahoma a more business friendly state, lawmakers have created the state's first workforce commission.

“There will be a single entity that owns the workforce challenge,” Sen. Adam Pugh, (R-Edmond) said.

The commission will be led by private sector business leaders, tasked with finding ways to bring new workers into the state, and keeping them here. It will be a state funded group and initiative.

“The workforce situation in Oklahoma wouldn't get better unless we had somebody in charge and owned it every day,” State Chamber CEO Chad Warmington said.

The State Chamber worked closely with lawmakers to create this legislation and commission. The two entities conducted research over the last two years, looking at where the state is succeeding or falling short, and where other states may be more successful.

They took all of the data, and other practices that can be implemented here in Oklahoma into mind when creating the new law.

“This is really a great example of what can happen when the business community and elected leaders come together,” Ben Lepak, the Exec. Director of State Chamber Research Foundation, said.

From their research, Lepak says the number one business shortfall companies were seeing was workforce shortages. While workforce shortages aren’t a problem that’s unique to the state, leaders worked to find a unique solution with this new taskforce.

“SB 621, The Workforce Transformation Act, takes all the best elements of workforce development practices from all across the country and puts them into an Oklahoma solution,” Lepak said.

The House and Senate authors of the bill said this could be a pivotal move for the state, to land big economic deals in the future, and incentivize businesses already here to stay.

“The opportunity we have with this new legislation is to really become a place that people and businesses flock to because of our favorable workforce conditions,” Lepak said.

Stitt said this could take the state one step closer to one of his consistent goals as governor.

“Let's make Oklahoma a top 10 state,” Stitt said.


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