BY THE NUMBERS…the unemployment rate in the Ponca City Labor Market was 2.8% at the beginning of this year. That’s the latest official report since it takes time for the guvment to gather and report data. The unemployment rate for Kay County is 3.2%. Whichever you choose, this is effectively well below full employment. You know this. What you may not know is that the vacancy rate in Ponca City’s rental housing market is even lower. Homes for sale are also low. Available industrial buildings are also virtually zero. There is that big one by the airport, of course. If you are thinking that a company could be recruited that would bring hundreds of jobs to that location, however, you must ask yourself whether a company thinks it can 1) find a local workforce or; 2) will transfer their existing workforce.
For the first one, with virtually no unemployed available, the only place a company can find workers is to steal them from existing Ponca City companies. For point number two it’s important to understand that a company transferring a large swath of their workforce is rare. We do have one example in Ponca City of a company that does this but that is the exception, not the rule. But let’s pretend for funsies that we did find that rare unicorn company that does transfer their own workforce. Where would they live? This is economic development in 2023 post-pandemic America. It has shifted from a simple goal of “we need jobs” to one of diversifying a local economy, growing your own workforce, figuring out how to tackle housing, workforce attraction, child care and so much more.
Read on and you’ll see some of the ways that PCDA has been working in recent years (the above is not new) to stabilize, sustain and grow the local economy. It’s not headline grabbing, but the goal is a strong economy, not headlines.
CONTRACT MANUFACTURING....is a large part of the manufacturing industry located here in Ponca City. With the Design 2 Part Trade Show (otherwise known as the Trade Show Brigade) fast approaching, staff thought sharing an overview of Ponca City contract manufacturers participating would be a good idea. Let's start with Centerline.
Centerline is a family owned and operated company. The Engster family began Centerline in the Pioneer Technology Business Incubator, then built their current facility on Ash after graduating from the Incubator program. Centerline's participation in many PCDA award winning programs is championed by President Stephen Engster and Operations Manager, Jeff Williams. These programs include Lighten the Load, which won a Bellman Award, and most recently, the Trade Show Brigade and the Shared Equipment Program. Centerline specializes in spindle manufacturing and repair in diverse industries ranging from dental lab to automotive and aircraft industries. In addition, they are growing their machining services with a focus on lathe work.
WORK SMARTER.....not harder. That is the motto for our local manufacturers and PCDA supports this with the Plan and Shared Equipment Room at Pioneer Technology Business and Industry Services Center. The Plan room is where local contractors and subs can check out building plans for the State of Oklahoma: new build and renovation construction projects. Contractors/suppliers can also make copies of the plans as needed for a small fee with the large scale printer.
The Shared Equipment Program can be seen below with The Keyence Measuring tool. This shared piece of equipment allows at least five of our local manufacturers to measure new and existing products to perform quality assurance on a micrometer scale. The time saved from not having to ship these products outside Ponca City and wait for the results has saved companies both costs and downtime. PCDA is proud to partner with Pioneer Tech on these projects to support local manufacturing and contractors.
DUKE.....is the fourth speculation building constructed by PCDA in the Airport Industrial Park. While construction of Duke has experienced a few weather related delays, the project is moving along nicely. All of the red iron component should be installed by Friday, 16 February. Staff expects to see insulation and wall sheeting going up sometime during the week of February 19.
THE HISPANIC ASSOCIATION.... of North Central Oklahoma is forming in Ponca City. This group of Latinos and Hispanics came together to put on the Hispanic Festival in September of 2022 and they need your support to keep the momentum going. Whether you are a business or individual seeking to participate or lend your support, you want to be at the kick-off meeting Monday, February 20th at 7 pm in the Summit Conference Room right here at City Central! Some of the future activities include a Father's Day celebration, the next Hispanic Festival, Christmas Parade and Mercado! Tell your friends, neighbors and family. This is your time to get involved.
Tuesday, February 28 - Pioneer Technology Center
BUILD YOUR WORK TEAM.... by acknowledging diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. This unconscious bias training will give your management team an added layer of success when training employees and volunteers. These strategies will make recruits to your organization feel supported and sustained in their efforts.
WORK YOUR PITCH.....at the Spring 2023 Business Plan Pitch Off. Is your business ready to grow here in Ponca City? Maybe you need more manufacturing space or your business is ready to be the next big thing. PCDA want's you in Ponca City. First: write and refine your business plan. Second: send business plan to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before March 22 at 5 pm. Third: Call Kat and start working your pitch for judges on April 3rd. Fourth: Win $5000 for your business.
FOX ALERT!..... coming to a street or location near you: fox statues. You may have seen them around town or even at their holding location at City Central when you and the family were checking out the Seed Reef. These larger than life statues are sponsored by individuals and businesses all over Ponca City to delight locals and visitors both. PC Arts is the driving organization behind this foxy project and City Central is glad to be these foxes holding location before their final installations.
E.W. Marland brought the sports of polo and fox hunting to Ponca City (don't get upset; it was the thing to do in the 1920s) and the descendants of the "fox that got away" can be seen all over our lovely community. Stay tuned for an updated "fox hunt" and keep on the lookout as new foxes are added to the PC scenery each week.
Monday, Feb 20 // Hispanic Association Meeting // City Central