Interstate partnership will boost innovation and economy | News

To develop the economy on the Cherokee Nation reserve, we must be forward-thinking, collaborative, and prepared to work across borders. As the largest tribe in the United States, we have unique opportunities to increase the prosperity of our citizens. We also need the support of our neighbors, because we will all go up or down with the regional economy.

I am optimistic that we are on the rise, in large part thanks to the innovative collaborations between our tribe and our neighbors. Cherokee Nation is a founding partner of the Heartland Advanced Medical Manufacturing Regional Cluster, a campaign to attract and retain high-quality healthcare manufacturing jobs in Northeastern Oklahoma and Northeastern Oklahoma. western Arkansas. HAMMRC’s goal is to develop a community-led, medical manufacturing cluster along the United States’ Highway 62 corridor.

The coalition involves economic development entities in two states, eight cities, three counties and the Cherokee Nation. The willingness of these various entities to work together on a regional basis gives us a great competitive advantage.

The plan, originally developed by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and the Tahlequah Regional Development Authority, focuses on manufacturing devices, components and equipment for the healthcare industry. We believe this will create careers for our citizens that are directly linked to other endeavors in science, technology, engineering, arts and math where the Cherokee Nation is leading the way.

HAMMRC further positions the Cherokee Nation as an integral part of the region’s bright future. We can harness the needs of India’s largest healthcare system, our workforce development programs, and a range of economic development efforts to create even more prosperity for our people.

The long-term goal is to make the region one of the world’s leading healthcare production sites. This may sound very ambitious for rural Oklahoma and Arkansas. However, the Cherokee Nation brings a lot to the table. We already have the four-year medical school and a new ambulatory care center, as well as future plans for a new hospital and several personal protective equipment manufacturing sites.

We saw at the start of the COVID-19 crisis that PPE was far too difficult to obtain. Difficulties in accessing PPE have hurt not only the Cherokee Nation, but our friends and neighbors as well. We are committed to doing better for our people. This partnership increases our resources and reduces potential delivery times for vital healthcare equipment in the future, which will make us even better prepared in the event of another health crisis.

The benefits go far beyond better access to equipment. Jobs in healthcare manufacturing pay around $ 25 to $ 30 an hour. This partnership will create these good jobs in the heart of the Cherokee Nation – places like Cherokee County and Adair County. As we continue to invest in STEAM careers, we know companies will be drawn to our well-trained workforce and an unrivaled quality of life.

Our education and career services have shown exceptional leadership in preparing the Cherokees for success in the workforce. But to develop a sustainable economy, you cannot just give people skills and then hope that they find a job. We need to directly recruit the kind of tech-driven healthcare manufacturing jobs that can transform the region.

Whether in healthcare, aerospace, gaming and hospitality, the film industry, federal contracting, or any other business we are involved in as a tribe, Cherokee Nation excels in giving hardworking Cherokees and creatives the platform to make their dreams come true. Now, with this collaboration, we are expanding another strong commercial sector to our diverse economic mix on the Cherokee Nation reserve. We are looking to the future to grow our economy for generations to come.

Chuck Hoskin Jr. is the chief leader of the Cherokee Nation.

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