News from Enid, Oklahoma


Almost ten years ago, ERDA filmed a video that we titled "We Got It." The video's purpose was to highlight all the amenities in Enid. While we had a lot to offer in 2012, I'd say that Enid has grown exponentially since that time. As younger families are seeking places that offer short commute times, an opportunity for community involvement, and a quality education for their kids, Enid is seeing more new faces moving to town!
The continuous opening of new retail, restaurants, entertainment options, and business expansions makes the community a dynamic and growing place. What does Enid need to keep up with our growth? People! To continue our momentum, we need to attract additional talent to fill the needs of our industries. In this newsletter, you will see an article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City on the low labor participation rate and the many factors impacting the tight labor market. Communities that can offer the work life balance families are seeking, along with attractive work options, are the places that are winning. The competition is fierce! I believe that Enid is position to win the race for talent, and our new Work In Enid Award will help to share that message..
Moving forward, a primary focus in Enid will be to market our assets near and wide to people looking for a change.
Enid, we STILL got it! Let's work together to share our community's story and continue to grow!


ERDA Board of Directors

Sandra Robinett
Matt Parrish
Scott Athey
Dwight Hughes
Martie Oyler
Don Roberts
Brian Henson
Scott Northcutt
Kyle Williams
Dave Lamerton
George Pankonin
Rob Stallings
Whitney Roberts
Jason Turnbow

Non Voting:
Jerald Gilbert
Jon Blankenship
Up to $10,000 in Student Loan Relief Through New Work in Enid Award
The Cherokee Strip Community Foundation and the Enid Regional Development Alliance are proud to announce the launch of a new talent attraction program for Enid. The Work in Enid Award will provide up to $10,000 in student loan relief to individuals who take a job and move to Enid. The application is available at, and the selection committee will review applications on an ongoing basis.

Lower Labor Force Participation Rates and Slower Population Growth Pose Challenges for Employers
Job openings have exceeded the number of unemployed workers in the United States since July 2021, suggesting an extremely tight labor market as the economy emerges from the pandemic-induced recession. Much of the shortfall in the labor force has been attributed to a large decline in labor force participation rates. Labor force participation plummeted in the early stages of the pandemic as many businesses closed, schools moved online, and individuals isolated due to health concerns. Although economic activity has since rebounded sharply and schools and businesses have reopened, labor force participation rates remain well below pre-pandemic levels in most states.

Training Up the Future of Clean Energy
ERDA Members, Enel Green Power and Northern Oklahoma College have partnered together to meet workforce demands. Enel and Northern Oklahoma College established a wind turbine technician and scholarship program that enables students to pursue a wind energy career. Learn a little more about the program from a former student and now Enel employee, Patrick Costello.

Cherokee Strip Business Model Competition
Through the support of Autry Technology Center and corporate sponsors, the Cherokee Strip Business Model Competition is able to recognize top performers with cash and in-kind service awards. The competition consists of three phases: submission of a business plan, a fifteen-minute oral presentation and a third presentation in front of a judging panel. Four winners and a people’s choice winner will be selected. Top three winners will receive one year of co-working space at the Strate Center.

Enid photographer celebrating his 100th project installation
A local photographer is marking the 100th time one of his projects is going up on a wall in an Oklahoma building.

Mike Klemme, an Enid photographer, artist and entrepreneur, has traveled all over the world as a photographer, but got his start here in his home of Northwest Oklahoma over 40 years ago.
In 2009, Klemme completed his first wall branding installation project, and this year, he celebrated his 100th.

“We have not just put photographs in 100 buildings, we have filled 100 buildings or offices across that state in the last decade,” Klemme said.
Across Oklahoma and the region, he, along with his team, coordinated with hospitals, schools, government agencies and businesses to help their walls become a part of their brand through carefully curated and often-commissioned photography, installed in both traditional and creative formats, Klemme said.

His latest photograph is being installed at the Oklahoma State Department of Commerce.

Dillingham Insurance, NOC recognized for longtime state higher ed partnership
An Enid business recently was honored for its decades of contributions to higher education and economic development with Northern Oklahoma College.
The partnership between NOC and Dillingham Insurance was among 27 business and higher education partnerships throughout the state recognized by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
Dillingham Insurance and NOC jointly received the Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award, which included an economic development grant, at an event honoring the dozens of partnership last month at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

HireOklahoma 2022
HireOklahoma Multi-School Alumni Career Fair 
is the premier event that brings together the 
best employers and alumni-job seekers 
from the top colleges and universities in Oklahoma.
Our University Partners invite their graduating seniors and alumni to attend HireOklahoma.  
(All Majors - All Degrees - All Career Levels).

June 23rd
11am - 2pm
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The McCullough Lab at Autry Technology Center is a tremendous asset for businesses, entrepreneurs, and community members in the district. The McCullough Lab is a high-tech, materials fabrication lab featuring design, prototyping and light production resources.

Learn more about the lab and schedule a tour by contacting Dustin Clements [email protected] 580-242-2750.
EHS College & Career Fair
Enid High School invites companies to participate in their College & Career Fair Summer Expo on April 27, 2022 from 12pm - 5pm at the EHS Gymnasium/PAC.

This is a great opportunity to showcase your company to students to find future workforce or summer employees.

RSVP to Ilene Christian
Sugar High immerses visitors in different world
Art is sometimes more than a simple visual experience.
Sometimes it is immersive: it uses smell, sound and enhanced visual effects to take you to another world.
In the case of Sugar High, it is a world where human beings survive on instant gratification, and sugar is an essential element of life.

Bright colors and the smell of butterscotch immediately greet visitors inside the PJ’s building at Washington and Maple, which has been transformed into the Sugar High world with the help of myriad artists.

“Immersive art is different (from regular art) in that the entire space becomes the art, not just an object on a wall or on a pedestal,” said Romy Owens, one of the leaders of the project.

A First Impression – Vance impacts families, airmen, and the community
Vance Air Force Base is the first stop in the Air Force for many of its personnel who come here, said Col. Jay A. Johnson, commander of the 71st Flying Training Wing.

It’s their first stop on a journey to become Air Force pilots and really their first exposure to the Air Force.
The majority of students at Vance are second lieutenants, so they have just been commissioned through the Air Force Academy, Officer Training School or ROTC.

“We make a first impression in their AF experience here but also that relationship off base with the local community. I think that is a huge first step for them,” Johnson said. “This is their first exposure to the relationship between a base and a town. That’s why (Enid) Mayor (George) Pankonin and I put so much emphasis on that relationship, because they don’t know what they are going to be treated like when they go off base.”