Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Skilled Labor Force to Set City's Future

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Skilled Labor Force to Set City's Future

Article excerpt

A skilled labor force will determine Oklahoma City's future, said Dr. David L. Birch, president of Cognetics Inc., a market research consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass.

Birch spoke at the 1989 Economic Outlook Conference held at the Marriott Hotel, 3233 Northwest Expressway. He gained recognition for what analysts have called "landmark" research in the late 1970s that first identified the critical role of innovation, particularly among small companies, and for studies on job creation.

Oklahoma City should make it a priority to solve its work force problem by improving young people's skills, he said at the conference sponsored by the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

"Skills needed to operate an oil rig are not adequate," he said.

To create economic growth in the 1990s, Oklahoma City should place emphasis on improving its entrepreneurial climate, he said.

Oklahoma City fell into the third percentile in an Inc. Magazine column last year, where Birch rated the entrepreneurial climate of companies nationwide.

On business growth, Oklahoma City earned 18 out of 100 points, he said.

Oklahoma's 13 percent business growth rate will not change in the next 10 years, Birch predicted.

"Companies start (in Oklahoma City), but they don't grow," he said.

Birch said he did not sense a partnership in Oklahoma City between the community and educators with regard to attitudes in entrepreneurship. The University of Oklahoma's location in Norman - away from the heart of Oklahoma City - is perhaps part of the problem, he said.

In East Cambridge, Birch said many Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors hold key positions in entrepreneurial companies which creates a healthy entrepreneurial environment. …

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