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2017 Issue 1 Develop, Innovate, Prosper

A Look Inside Oklahoma’s Apprenticeship Programs

Benefiting Students and Employers, Creating New Opportunities for Oklahomans p.5

THE STATE OF START-UPS Starting a Business in 2017

Starting a business is exciting. It can also be a bit overwhelming. We know you probably have many questions and we’re here to help you succeed. These four steps will help you get started.

Trade Name

Secure your idea for a business name by registering it. While not required, it will protect the use of that name in Oklahoma by ensuring your exclusive control of its use. Go to

Employer Requirements


All employers must obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Business owners without employees sometimes choose to obtain an EIN so they can use it instead of their Social Security Number on business paperwork.

Legal Structure

Research and decide on the structure your business will operate under. Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships are the simplest, but offer the least protection to owners. Some structures like Limited Liability Companies and Corporations require registration, but come with features that benefit some businesses. Go to

Go to Employers must set up a withholding account for state income taxes through the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Go to Employers must also set up an account for employees’ unemployment taxes through the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. Go to Employers must obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Contact an insurance agent for more information.

Licensing Requirements

There is no general license required just to own or do business in the state of Oklahoma, but many businesses, business owners and/ or their employees, require specific licenses or permits. Research common license requirements at Sales tax permits are required for retailers, resellers, or others that sell tangible property on an ongoing basis by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Go to

For further assistance call 405-815-5218 or visit

How STEP Funding Services Help Local Companies Expand Q&A with Charles D. Mills, President of Mills Machine Company, on STEP Do your homework, have a plan of what type of marketing that you want to apply for. You could translate your website or a brochure, attend ExporTech, exhibit at a trade show or whatever type of marketing that would grow your company.

Charles D. Mills What initially made you decided to apply for the STEP (State Trade Expansion Grant Program) grant?

What recommendations would you give other companies looking to apply?

Since the grant was written for international marketing programs and I had always wanted to translate my website into several other languages, it was a perfect fit for my company. We chose Spanish to be the first language for translation because we were expanding our export market in Mexico, Central and South America.

The STEP grant that I was awarded was $5,000 (the current cap is $2,000) and the cost of the translation plus the software and labor required to put that on our website cost us a little over $8,000. So, the new cap of $2,000 would still help but we obviously would have a lot more investment from our side. You could possibly at least translate your home page. The first thing that you need to do is contact your webmaster and see what is required to embed the software into your website and then shop around for a translation company that has good references in translating your industry’s terminology. Be aware of the different dialects and try to find some middle ground where people from different regions can understand your information. Use any local contacts that you have to provide guidance and translate your industries terminology into their language.

How has having your website translated into Spanish helped to increase opportunities/actual sales results? Our distributors have commented on how helpful the translated site is for them and their customers in trying to explain our product line and the advantages of our custom designed products. How did STEP funds help you save money in the long term? The STEP grant funds supplemented our investment for the translation costs which saved us several thousand dollars. As a relatively small company I probably would not have been able to come up with the money to translate my site, that is why I had not done it sooner.

What are some key takeaways from your experience? Do your homework, have a plan of what type of marketing that you want to apply for. You could translate your website or a brochure, attend ExporTech, exhibit at a trade show or whatever type of marketing that would grow your company.

Describe the application process for the STEP grant. The application process was pretty involved but the questions were simple and straight forward. It requires you to define and update your international business plan which is always a good exercise for any business to do on a regular basis.

What is the primary reason peer companies should consider this grant other than the export portion? Take advantage of your tax dollars to supplement your marketing efforts to grow your company globally. Ninetyfive percent of the world lives outside of the United States so take advantage of the opportunity and let’s grow the economy! For more information visit:


A Look Inside Oklahoma’s Apprenticeship Programs Benefiting Students and Employers, Creating New Opportunities for Oklahomans Often thought of as an older form of workforce training, modern-day apprenticeship programs are a great opportunity for individuals to learn a skilled trade and find employment. Apprentices are employees who study an occupation or skilled trade through planned, managed, on-the-job training and related classroom instruction. This “earn as you learn” model connects job seekers looking to learn new skills with employers looking for qualified, specifically-trained workers to grow their businesses and is utilized by a range of Oklahoma companies. Progressive Stamping LLC is a custom manufacturer, that offers registered apprenticeships in Oklahoma City, Okla.. “We have two occupations here at Progressive Stamping that require very specific skills. It has been difficult over the years to find qualified people to fill these positions due to the skills gap present in manufacturing,” said Wayne Cartwright, Continuous Improvement Manager at Progressive Stamping. “We realized training would be required. Implementing apprenticeship programs was the best solution for us.” There are 103 registered apprenticeship (RA) programs in Oklahoma. RA programs are operated under the supervision of the US Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship (DOL/OA) which serves as a liaison between employers, educational institutions, the public workforce system and other key community organizations. These partnerships identify the resources needed, design the program and recruit apprentices. DOL/OA provides technical assistance for the formation of the on-the-job work processes and the related technical instruction and guides the partners through the steps of developing the program. DOL/OA staff provides employers with a basic template for RA standards covering the “must haves” to register a program and advice on possible sources of funding to support apprenticeships. Apprenticeships play an important role in Oklahoma Works, Governor Fallin’s workforce initiative which aims to close the state’s skills gap and spur wealth generation among Oklahomans. “Oklahoma Works will help people find apprenticeship programs to help Oklahomans earn and learn,” said Vicki Deering, Employer Workforce Services Coordinator. “Oklahoma Works offers a variety of assistance for both employees and employers alongside the US Department of Labor.” Many RAs can be used toward college credit if those seeking

certification are also looking at a degree program. Current key industries include energy, transportation, and skilled trades such as carpentry and plumbing. Oklahoma was recently awarded a grant to identify ways to create, expand and diversify RAs in other high demand occupations within the state’s wealth-generating key industries: Aerospace and Defense; Agriculture and Biosciences; Energy; Information and Financial Services; and, Transportation and Distribution, as well as the complementary industries which help to expand wealth in Oklahoma’s economy: construction, health care, education and creative industries. The state will use the grant to explore new opportunities to expand apprenticeship programs in these key areas said Erin Risley-Baird, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development. “Nearly half of the state’s identified critical occupations can be filled by some type of on-the-job-training,” said Risley-Baird. “We hope to expand apprenticeship programs in a way that fits the jobs and industries we have in Oklahoma.” Oklahoma’s Secretary of Education and Workforce Development and President of Oklahoma State UniversityOklahoma City, Natalie Shirley, said RA programs offer opportunities to upskill the workforce in critical high-demand, high-paying careers. “The time is right to expand such opportunities for Oklahomans,” said Shirley. “The state is facing a critical gap between the skills of the current workforce and the skills that are needed to fill vital jobs. Apprenticeship programs offer a great opportunity to help close this skills gap.” One of many successful RA programs in Oklahoma is at Quad/Graphics. Quad/Graphics is a large scale printer with a modern mega plant (over 1 million square feet) in Oklahoma City with 700 employees. Worldwide, Quad/Graphics reported $4.7 billion in annual sales, 22,500 employees and 60 manufacturing facilities. The company’s RA programs are part of what help them succeed as a business but also help to better the lives of the people that work there. “Quad/Graphics current RA program began in 2002 in our Wisconsin facilities. Apprenticeship programs have become our best source of talent acquisition for the industrial skilled trades jobs. These are the skilled jobs that Quad and every advanced manufacturing company need but cannot find qualified candidates to fill,” said Nate Butt, Apprentice Director, for Quad/Graphics. “In some Quad locations, apprentice graduates make up 75% of the electrical or mechanical staff.”

Pictured here left to right: Jon Nolte, Electrical Apprentice, Paul Schuster, Electrical Apprentice, Nate Butt, Apprentice Director, Nick James, Electrical Apprentice.

Quad Graphics employees reviewing color and print quality in the Okla. City mega plant.

Quad/Graphics Oklahoma launched their apprenticeship program in 2014. They’ve used community college and CareerTech programs as pre-training and many students from those programs can even come in with a couple years into the apprenticeship program.

OKC. Registered Apprenticeship is an awesome pathway to a rewarding, good paying career.”

“The CareerTech system offers a wide variety of education and training opportunities for students to enter into apprenticeships and get a jump-start on their careers” said Marcie Mack, state director of Oklahoma CareerTech. “Our mission is to help individuals and companies advance their goals. Quad/ Graphics’ apprentices attend Moore Norman Technology Center for the classroom portion of their training. This is just one way we can partner with business and industry to meet the demands of the workforce.” “After I left the military I started thinking about my future and career,” said Nick James, Electrical Apprentice, Quad Graphics. “We talked about how an electrical apprenticeship would be a good direction.” “It opened so many more opportunities for me,” said Jon Nolte, Electrical Apprentice, Quad Graphics. “I had seen my options narrowing and the opportunity to learn a skilled trade has given me something versatile to fall back on.” “RA is flexible to any company or industry. Apprenticeship can be a pathway to a further education such as a degree,” said Butt. “I myself started off as an industrial electrician apprentice and now manage maintenance in a 1.7 mil sq. ft. printing facility. I also have the opportunity to travel - launching and promoting apprentice programs like Quad’s program in

RA programs are beneficial for both employers and employees. Benefits for Employers: 1. Registered Apprenticeship Programs help recruit and develop a highly-skilled workforce. 2. Improves productivity and the bottom line. 3. Reduces turnover costs and increases employee retention. Benefits for Apprentices: 1. A paycheck from day one, guaranteed to increase over time as you learn new skills. 2. A career – once you complete your apprenticeship, you will be on your way to a successful long-term career with a competitive salary and little or no educational debt. 3. National industry certification upon graduation from a career training program and can take that certification anywhere in the United States. The DOL/OA is responsible for registering apprenticeship programs that meet federal and state standards; protecting the safety and welfare of apprentices; issuing nationally recognized and portable Certificates of Completion of Apprenticeship to apprentices; promoting the development of new programs through marketing and technical assistance; assuring that all programs provide high quality training; and assuring that all programs produce skilled and competent workers. Learn more at


Rising from the Ashes, Business Continuity We quickly began working with the Oklahoma Main Street Center and other agencies within Stephens County to develop a plan. Destiny Ahlfenger, Duncan Main Street Program Director Business continuity and emergency planning are essential elements of running a successful business. While no amount of planning can keep a disaster from happening, having the right plans in place can help to get a business up and running again in the aftermath. In the second half of 2016, five Oklahoma Main Street communities saw fires ravage buildings and businesses. According to the Department of Homeland Security, how quickly a business can recover after a fire or other disaster depends largely on emergency planning done now. According to “When business is disrupted, it can cost money. Lost revenues plus extra expenses means reduced profits. Insurance does not cover all costs and cannot replace customers that defect to the competition. A business continuity plan to continue business is essential.” “Unfortunately 2016 brought hardships to several of our Main Street communities,” said Buffy Hughes, Oklahoma Main Street Program Director. “You never expect for something like a fire to happen to your business, but it is critical to have a business continuity plan in place just in case. Main Street Duncan is one example of a community rising from the ashes and getting back on its feet.” In early July, a fire broke out at the Mix Market Place and Tea Room in downtown Duncan, destroying the building and causing smoke and water damage to surrounding businesses. “The fire impacted Duncan in a variety of ways. Downtown lost an anchor merchant that was historical to the district,” said Destiny Ahlfenger, Duncan Main Street Program Director. “Overall, we lost power for the two days after, and had no phones or internet for several weeks, leaving many of the surrounding merchants to suffer from the fire as well.” Unfortunately, the Main Street Duncan program did not have a disaster plan in place before the fire.

“We quickly began working with the Oklahoma Main Street Center and other agencies within Stephens County to develop a plan,” said Ahlfenger. “We formed a disaster plan for the downtown in the event of a disaster in the future. Duncan Main Street is also working to host a workshop so individual merchants can create a disaster plan for themselves and their employees.” After Duncan Main Street established its recovery plan, clean up and rebuilding could begin. The program worked with property owners and Oklahoma Main Street Program architect, Larry Lucas, to get to work. Since multiple properties besides The Mix were effected, Main Street Duncan also coordinated with the surrounding businesses to learn their plans for recovery. “Fortunately, all of the businesses recovered. We were able to help the owners of The Mix sell their property to a local developer. They knew this was the best move to improve and enhance downtown Duncan with green space, new retail space, a restaurant, and more,” said Ahlfenger. While downtown Duncan has been able to recover from the disaster, they recommend that communities large and small take the time to develop plans for potential future disasters. “If I could offer any advice to communities without a disaster plan, I would say form one,” said Ahlfenger. “For months, we worked to inform the community of the developments underway, held countless meetings to discuss possibilities, and now know a better way to deal with this from many perspectives if need be in the future. There are many programs out there that will help you develop a disaster plan and the Oklahoma Main Street Center can be very instrumental in the process. From fires to tornadoes, we all need to be prepared.” Contact the Oklahoma Main Street Center at 800-879-6552 to find out more about available disaster planning and business continuity resources.

Oklahoma Main Street Center and other agencies within Stephens County worked with Duncan Main Street to develop a disaster plan after a fire impacted several buildings in Duncan’s downtown area.


Start the New Year with Energy Efficiency From exterior awnings and light wells to wide roof overhangs and thick masonry walls, historic properties were built with efficiency in mind... Larry Lucas, Oklahoma Main Street Program architect As another year begins, now is a great time for businesses to consider how they can reduce costs through building energy efficiency. Many believe that the older buildings along Oklahoma’s Main Streets and other historic districts are a loss when it comes to energy efficiency. In fact, in the field of historic preservation, it has long been a saying that “the greenest buildings have already been built.” “People think of older buildings as inefficient,” said Larry Lucas, Oklahoma Main Street Program architect. “But really, these buildings include features that often add to their efficiency. From exterior awnings and light wells to wide roof overhangs and thick masonry walls, historic properties were built with efficiency in mind as modern-day conveniences like central heat and air weren’t readily available.” Even still, with some added effort, businesses can capitalize on further efficiencies. So what can a business operating in an older building do to maximize energy efficiency and reduce overhead operating costs?

Much like any resolution, it’s often best to start small. Some updates are simple: • Change to energy efficient, LED light bulbs. • Plug electronics into power strips, then turn off at night, and throughout the day when not in use. • Take advantage of weatherization programs from utilities or governmental organizations. • Add, repair or replace interior shading devices such as curtains, blinds or solar shades. • Repair leaky faucets & install low flow faucets with motion sensor controls. • When upgrading equipment, purchase ENERGY STAR equipment and appliances. • Ask your utility to perform a lighting audit and audit of existing equipment. Some have incentives to upgrade or offer free tune-ups. Want to learn more about how to make a historic building more energy efficient? To ensure lifecycle cost savings from energy efficiency upgrades, the Oklahoma Main Street Program has outlined a 3-stage, whole-building approach to help optimize your historic building’s energy performance. Download a copy of our Historic-Building-Energy-Efficiency (full-color poster) at

DID YOU KNOW? Existing, historic buildings retrofitted for energy efficiency perform at higher levels than today’s new construction. Before air-conditioning and highefficiency lighting, shopkeepers relied on high windows and ceilings to provide natural light and ventilation. If it was too hot they might reel out a retractable awning instead of turning up the air-conditioner. (From: The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse (2012) by Preservation Green Lab) Building energy efficiency experts agree that following the “wholebuilding approach” is the surest way to reduce operating costs and improve property value. (From: Realizing the Energy Efficiency Potential of Small Buildings (2013) by Preservation Green Lab)

Download a copy of or Historic-Building-Energy-Efficiency Poster:


Museum on Main Street Museum on Main Street (MoMS) is a cultural project that serves rural America. Oklahoma Humanities partners with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) to bring national touring exhibits to small Oklahoma communities.

With their hands and minds hard at work and sweat on their brows, American workers perform a diverse array of jobs to power our society. Whether we work for professional satisfaction and personal growth or to ensure the well-being of ourselves and our families, work is a part of nearly every American’s life. Office workers, factory workers, homemakers, truckers and the millions more who keep the nation going through their work make great contributions not only to industry, but also to American culture. The diversity of the American workforce is one of its strengths, providing an opportunity to explore how people of all races and ethnicities identified commonalities and worked to knock down barriers in the professional world. And, finally, the exhibition shows how we identify with work - as individuals and as communities. Whether you live in “Steel Town, USA” or wear a uniform each day, work assigns cultural meanings and puts us and our communities in a larger context. The Way We Worked, adapted from an original exhibition developed by the National Archives, explores how work became such a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years. The exhibition draws from the Archives’ rich collections to tell this compelling story. Building on this national theme, host sites in Oklahoma will develop complementary programming or exhibits that highlight the history of work in their own hometowns. For more information:

Weeding sugar beets for $2.00/hour by Bill Gillette, near Fort Collins, Colorado, June 1972, National Archives, Records of the Environmental Protection Agency

Man working on hull of U.S. Submarine at Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn. by Fenno Jacobs, August 1943, National Archives, General Records of the U.S. Navy, 1789-1947

Tour Schedule: PERRY: FEB 1 – MARCH 17 Perry Heritage Center 222 6th St. Perry, OK

GROVE: MARCH 25 – MAY 12 Har-Ber Village Museum 4404 W. 20th St. Grove, OK

Instructing nurses on the use of respirator for a polio patient by an unknown photographer, location unknown, May 23, 1958, National Archives, Department of Labor

BROKEN ARROW: MAY 19 – JULY 7 Broken Arrow Historical Society Museum 400 S. Main Broken Arrow, OK

WAURIKA: JULY 22 – SEPTEMBER 8 Waurika Public Library 203 S. Meridian Waurika, OK

POTEAU: SEPTEMBER 15 – NOVEMBER 11 The Historic Hotel Lowrey 303 Dewey Ave. Poteau, OK Demonstration of protest and mourning for Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire by an unknown photographer, New York City, New York, April 5,1911 National Archives, Department of Labor

Upcoming Events and Important Dates MEXICO’S OIL & GAS SECTOR OUTLOOK & STEP GRANT PRESENTATION Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 9:30 - 11:30am OU Research Park, 655 Research Parkway, Suite 200, Okla. City The U.S. Small Business Administration, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce would like to invite you to join us for this special presentation in which you will learn about exporting opportunities to Mexico within the oil and gas industry and how your business can apply for a STEP grant. Presenters include: Luis Doménech, Founding Partner/Managing Dir., Market Intelligence Latin America, S.C. (MILA) and International Trade Director for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce – Mr. Doménech specializes in market research in Mexico and other Latin American markets. Jesse Garcia, CGBP, Global Trade Manager, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, As the International Trade Specialist for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Mr. Garcia assists small and medium enterprises with export services and solutions for increased global market share. For more information or to register to attend this no-cost event, contact: or 405-815-5111.

UNDERSTANDING CENSUS BUREAU DATA Thursday, January 19, 2017, 1:00 - 4:00pm Oklahoma Dept. of Libraries, 200 N.E. 18th Street, Okla. City 2nd floor computer lab

NEW PIONEER A PRODUCT OF THE OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE EDITOR: Kimberly Hickerson, Project Manager CONTRIBUTORS: Stefanie Appleton, Bryan Boone, Larry Lucas PHOTO CREDITS: Main Street Center, Oklahoma Department of Commerce National Archives, Department of Labor

FOR NEW PIONEER SUBMISSIONS AND STORY IDEAS CONTACT: Kimberly Hickerson Editor-in-Chief - New Pioneer Oklahoma Department of Commerce 900 N. Stiles Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73104 (405) 815-5240

A free 3-hour, hands-on workshop to learn how to use this data in our computer lab at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. This workshop is designed for anyone who works with economic data, including local governments, tribal governments, businesses, non-profit agencies, and educational institutions. If you want to register, or have further questions about this workshop, contact or 405-522-3327. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY Monday, January 16, 2017 State Offices Closed PRESIDENTS’ DAY Monday, February 20, 2017 State Offices Closed @OKcommerce

Issue 1 2017  

A Look Inside Oklahoma’s Apprenticeship Programs, The State of Start-Ups, How STEP Funding Services Help Local Companies Expand Q&A, Rising...

Issue 1 2017  

A Look Inside Oklahoma’s Apprenticeship Programs, The State of Start-Ups, How STEP Funding Services Help Local Companies Expand Q&A, Rising...