Path Home Shows 2014 Show Archive October 2014 Show 1442 Lucrative Career in Pipelining

Lucrative Career in Pipelining

Value Added: An unprecedented partnership with the Osage Nation is bringing jobs to Oklahomans, both tribal members and others.

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Tri County Technology Center


Osage Nation

Show Details

Show 1442: Lucrative Career in Pipelining
Air Date: October 19, 2014



Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” Well, when most people think of Indian tribes and the money they generate in Oklahoma, the first thing that usually comes to mind is casinos. And while a large portion of Native American revenue comes from gaming, tribes are creating jobs elsewhere as well. A recent study shows tribes in Oklahoma have an estimated $10.8 billion economic impact, employing more than 50,000 people.

Bill Lance is the CEO of the Chickasaw Nation and says gaming has allowed tribes like his to gain valuable business experience.

Bill Lance: I think one thing that is overlooked with gaming is that, you know, gaming is a billion dollar annual business for us and a lot of what we have learned in management, technology, etc., is transferrable to a lot of other businesses. So it’s really opened up a lot of opportunities because of the expertise that we have in accounting, management, technology -- I could go on and on -- which is really transferrable to a lot of other businesses that we’ve been able to benefit from that knowledge and expertise.

Rob: And when grouped in their entirety, Native American enterprises in our state would rank in the top five of Oklahoma industries.

A trend that has been especially impactful in rural Oklahoma because that is where most of the tribal nations are actually located. As our Alisa Hines reports, training is underway creating an opportunity that will change lives for several local communities.

Alisa Hines: New jobs are coming to Oklahoma literally a foot at a time. The Flanagan South Pipeline will be coming through parts of northeastern Oklahoma headed to Cushing. In an unprecedented partnership, the Osage Nation is leading the way to bring jobs to Oklahomans and their own native people.

In an area where jobs are scarce, for these students, this could be a new lease on life.

Lisa Partridge: Well, it’s looking brighter, definitely, definitely looking brighter.

Alisa: Lisa Partridge is training to go from being a waitress earning minimum wage to being a welder’s helper where she can earn $18 an hour starting out.

Partridge: Well, it’s a good opportunity, and it would better my life, my kid’s life, and make a better future for all of us.

Alisa: And for Tony Cunningham, it’s a dream come true.

Tony Cunningham: A real big opportunity. I’ve always been interested in working on a pipeline. It’s been somewhat hard to get on a pipeline before this and the Osage Nation and Union 798 made it possible. For me it’s a golden opportunity, you know, and like I said, I’m going to take every advantage and run with it, you know, if I can, and this is going to be a career change for me and a little more solid.

Alisa: Now, according to Tri County Tech Center’s Scott Sutherland, this is a monumental opportunity.

Scott Sutherland: Just talking to the students, you know, if the students have an average of four people in their family, you know, times 400, that’s 1,600 people that it’s affecting and sometimes more, you know. It’s going to be a great deal, and I’ve been proud to be a part of it.

Scott Big Horse: This is huge for our community. This is going to provide jobs at a pay scale that this community has never seen before.

Alisa: Scott Big Horse is assistant principal chief of the Osage Nation.

Big Horse: And to have this job right in our own backyard, you know, that means that money is going to stay right here in this community. It’s going to be circulated many times, you know, through different businesses, that’s a plus for everybody. It’s a win-win for the tribe. It’s a win-win especially for the people, the working people.

Alisa: Now, according to the Osage Nation’s Delary Walters, Oklahomans will be working on approximately half of the pipeline.

Delary Walters: This is the Enbridge-Flanagan South Pipeline. It starts up in Flanagan, Ill., and it’ll go to Cushing. We’re gonna actually put our people to work on 300 miles of the 600 miles because the pipeline is crossing the reservation for the Osage Nation. So basically what we’re doing is the pipeline is being built by Osages, Native Americans, because it is coming across our reservation. And so that is the exciting part. We are going to be able to actually participate in what’s happening in our own county, in our own reservation and putting our own people out there to work, as well as, others too, but mainly Osages and Native Americans.

Alisa: An opportunity to train for new jobs while staying close to home.

Rob: Well, altogether the pipeline is creating about 600 new jobs, with as many as 400 of those going to students that are earning their certifications through this joint partnership. When we return, a Native American inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame.