Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Over $41 Million in Contracts Result of Assistance Network / Involving 1,000 Jobs

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Over $41 Million in Contracts Result of Assistance Network / Involving 1,000 Jobs

Article excerpt

A total of $41.4 million in government contracts have been awarded to Oklahoma's business and industries and has meant the creation or maintenance of about 1,000 Oklahoma jobs since the network of state business assistance centers was established in September, according to the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education.

Janice Burnett, state coordinator of the bid assistance centers for the vo-tech system, said the program appears to be taking off.

There were approximately $28 million in government contracts awarded to businesses from the inception of the program until late June, Burnett said. However, in the month of July alone there were $17.6 million in contracts - 37.1 percent of the contracts of the first 9 months of the program combined.

"The contracts ranged in size (in July) from a $6 million engine refurbishing contract for the U.S. Tank and Automotive Command to a $450 contract," said Burnett. "It appears the program is now making some real progress."

The bid assistance network consists of 22 local bid assistance centers, housed at area vo-tech centers across the state. The network is coordinated by a state bid assistance center, housed at the state vocational-technical agency in Stillwater.

Through the centers, businesses can obtain information about federal, state and local government contracts, which before the bid assistance program was established was sometimes difficult to get.

There is an understanding between the bid assistance centers and the businesses which they help that the names of those businesses would not be made public once a contract is obtained, Burnett said.

The program started with only one bid assitance center in September and was originally scheduled to grow to only eight, but according to Ron Wilkerson, public information coordinator for the vo-tech system, the growing popularity caused a demand for more centers to be opened.

Burnett said it is up to the area vo-tech schools to decide whether to hook up with the bid assistance centers, but she predicted there probably won't be any new ones for a while. …

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