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AJF News

South Central Oklahoma Economic Development Groups Form Regional Partnership

5/31/2006 by Ada Jobs
Tags: Economic Development

Ada, Pauls Valley, Sulphur/Davis Areas:  Economic development organizations in three south central Oklahoma counties today were joined by various volunteer community leaders as they signed a formal memorandum of understanding at a luncheon ceremony in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.  The new group, named SCORE, South Central Oklahoma Regional Enterprise, in signing the agreement, committed to work together to market the region as a whole and to help one another cross-market their respective communities.  The three partnering economic development organizations serve Garvin, Murray, and Pontotoc counties.  The luncheon and much of the original organization effort was sponsored by OG&E. 

Karl Burkhardt, Executive Director of Pauls Valley Chamber of Commerce, in signing the agreement, summarized the combined resources that the region can market by working, including Interstate Highway 35, passenger rail service, excellent commercial rail service, beautiful tourism destinations of Turner Falls and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, and an institution of higher education in East Central University, Ada. 

Thirty people from the various communities gathered for a lunch at the train depot in Pauls Valley.  Senator Susan Paddack addressed those gathered and highlighted the importance of working together in a global economy.  Senator Paddack expressed her support for the leadership represented here today, allowing communities to step toward the future.

Deidre Myers, Director of Community Outreach, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, served as the MC for the outdoor ceremony, set against the historic backdrop of the Santa Fe Depot Museum in Pauls Valley.  In highlighting the importance of regions working together, Ms. Myers noted there are over 15,000 community economic development groups around the United States competing for around 3,000 expansion or relocation projects.  By working together, we can become more competitive by sharing resources, putting our best features forward, and garnering political support for needs for which state and federal government help is essential.

The most common issue SCORE is currently working on is a labor shortage.  Each of the counties is at full employment, with well over 1,000 jobs open.  The group is working on efforts to market the quality of life, available career opportunities, and affordable lifestyle of the region.