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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: February 12, 2008

Sen. Mike Mazzei
Sen. Mike Mazzei

Bill to Keep Oklahoma Competitive in Aerospace Industry Clears Committee

In an effort to stop the brain drain of aerospace engineers from the state, Sen. Mike Mazzei has proposed a $5,000, five-year tax credit for new engineering graduates who take jobs in Oklahoma. Senate Bill 1171 was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday. Mazzei said Oklahoma companies are having a hard time filling those jobs, and it is only getting worse.

“As baby boomers retire, it is going to be increasingly difficult to fill the aerospace engineering jobs in Oklahoma,” said Mazzei, R-Tulsa. “In just five years, we’re going to have a shortage of 600 engineers in Oklahoma, and we’re competing with companies in other states for qualified candidates. This is one of our largest employers, and it is critical we take action to attract and keep the highly trained work force needed.”

Victor Bird, Director of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, told committee members that the aerospace industry has about a $12.5 billion industrial output, employing one in 10 Oklahomans. He said for every aerospace engineering job, 2.6 additional jobs are created.

Mazzei, Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said the average engineering salary in the state is about $55,000, compared to the $30,000 a year the average Oklahoman makes. He noted that while fiscal impact of the tax credit would be approximately $3 million, the return on that investment would be an economic impact of over $70 million.

“The aerospace industry is critical to our economy, but in order for them to compete, they’ve got to have a qualified workforce. This legislation will help make that happen,” Mazzei said.

For more information contact:
Senator Mazzei's Office: (405) 521-5675

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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