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U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern, Oklahoma leaders discuss manufacturing issues

Posted at 4:20 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 19:08:48-04

TULSA, Okla. — Local businesses got the chance today to talk about how supply chain issues and staffing shortages are impacting them.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern (OK-District 1) met with local manufacturers to discuss supply chain issues and what can be done about them.

“There's nothing more important to our community, a thriving community in our state than having jobs and certainly high-paying jobs that are brought to us by our manufacturers," said Hern.

Hern, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce, and the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce held a round table to address the concerns of Oklahoma manufacturers, including several Broken Arrow companies like Milo tea and Vacuworx.

They started with a discussion about supply chain issues.

"Those vary from we can't get raw material, tool and dye, we can't get grease or seals, or hey we’ve started in-sourcing this, and its helped because we couldn’t get it or its too expensive," says Jenny Cothron, with Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance.

Companies also talked about the staffing challenges They are facing.

Some of the solutions discussed include placing students in stem classes at an early age, encouraging the younger generation to look into career-tech schools, and helping them understand it can be a career.

"Removing that stigma that manufacturing is dirty grimy work, and showing them that there are careers available in our community and region," says Amber Miller with the Broken Arrow Chamber.

Tulsa’s Chamber says growing the workforce is key to the success of local manufacturers.

"We also need to be looking for long-term solutions. One of the things that’s important is that we are growing our workforce because the companies are growing. So what they need right now is more labor. And there's also going to be a drain in terms of baby boomers, that are leaving the market and being able to replace those workers," says Brien Thorstenberg with Tulsa Regional Chamber.

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