The Norman Transcript

Opinion

January 4, 2013

Finding skilled workers often trumps issue

NORMAN — Employers often say the the biggest issue facing Oklahoma businesses is finding good, skilled workers. But the state Chamber of Commerce continues to make overhauling the workers’ compensation system its top priority during the legislative session.

The chamber unveiled its legislative plan this past week. Norman’s chamber published its list of legislative goals this past month with no mention of workers’ compensation changes.

The state chamber wants to change Oklahoma’s workers’ comp system from a judicial system to an administrative one. Last year’s effort to allow large employers to opt out of the system fell a few votes short.

A top state official said employers statewide tell him finding, training and retaining skilled workers is the biggest problem facing Oklahoma business.

Norman chamber directors approved a legislative goal that supports “development of a healthy and skilled work force and advocate for an environment that attracts such a group.”

Both chambers addressed education. The state will push for more funding to enhance growth, learning and procieincies to ensure public high school students are ready for college or careers after they graduate.

Norman’s chamber called for increased funding levels, streamlined operations to get more money into classrooms and encouraged lawmakers to look at alternative methods to fund common education.

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