If you've ever seen that classic Rodgers & Hammerstein play "Oklahoma!," you know that the state became famous at the turn of the 20th century for its abundance of barley, carrots, "pertaters" and "termayters."
So, why am I bringing this up on an MRO blog?
Well, it's because Oklahoma is once again the vanguard of American industry. This time, though, the state is turning heads because of its cornucopia of more than 300 aerospace businesses, which includes large companies such as Spirit AeroSystems, American Airlines and Boeing. (This is where I should mention that O&M will be taking a visit to some of these facilities at the end of this month and advise you to keep your eyes peeled for an update to this blog post.)
Spirit AeroSystems' facility in McAlester, Okla.
In order to attract smaller start-ups and ramp up its aerospace workforce, Oklahoma is now offering tax credits to aerospace engineers and the companies that hire them.
The fine print says that engineers hired in Oklahoma will be eligible for up to $5,000 in tax credits annually for up to five years, and companies can also get credits equal to 10% of its engineers' compensation for the first five years at work if the employee graduated from an Oklahoma state school. For those engineers from out-of-state schools, companies can receive tax credits equal to 5% of his or her compensation for the first five years.
What's more, companies hiring engineers fresh out of Oklahoma state schools are also eligible for tax credits in the amount of 50 percent of the tuition reimbursed for their first four years of employment.
At the risk of sounding cliche, I think it's great that Oklahoma is cashing in its reputation as a quaint agricultural sector to make way for a new crop engineering talent.