Ask any visitor or transplant, “What makes Oklahoma City such a great place to live?” and you will get some variable of the same answer: the people.
Testimonials range from the collective “niceness” to “easy to get plugged in” to “I can make a better living here.” Even in the midst of this sobering recession, I continue to be amazed by the general optimism of business leaders, elected officials and the general public. By now, we all know good people who have been laid off from good jobs. Many of them are resisting even the notion of looking elsewhere for work because they feel part of this community.
A concern we all need to be thinking about is how we can continue to gain momentum among freshly minted college graduates who are entering the worst job market in a generation. My company, Saxum, will not hire as many employees this year as we did last year.
However, our growing public relations firm is committing more resources and responsibilities to our current crop of interns. You see, yesterday’s entry-level job can now be staffed with a graduated intern looking to gain real-world experience. Interns benefit because they are allowed to evaluate whether they like the company and profession before committing to a job. Of Saxum’s last three intern classes, at least one of our hired interns came to us credentialed with a college degree.
Besides giving them an extended job interview that may result in a full-time salaried position at our company, we invest time and money in hopes of building on our reputation as a great place to work. At the end of the internship period, I feel personally responsible for helping them find a job if they realize that public relations is not for them or we are not a good fit.
The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber is doing its part by sponsoring Greater Grads, now in its fourth year. About 200 interns from 50 companies in central Oklahoma will join in the five-week chamber-sponsored program. Participants will experience the highlights of living in Oklahoma City, from the cost of living compared with other cities, to average starting wage, to cultural opportunities and even the latest hot spots in town.
So what is the concern I alluded to above? Today’s educated workers are looking at Oklahoma City as a career destination for the first time in a generation. As a corporate community, let’s join our large corporate citizens like Chesapeake Energy (40 interns), Devon Energy (20 interns) and OGE Energy Corp. (14 interns) as well as our small businesses like Saxum (two interns) and Box Talent (two interns) in sending our talent through this important program for the future of our city. These talented individuals are critical to our future.
For more information about Greater Grads, visit www.greatergrads.com
(Courtesy of Newsok.com)