Tulsa Ports celebrates OU Economic Development Institute graduate

November 2, 2021

OU Economic Development Class of 2021

Sheila Shook, Director of Workforce and Education for the Tulsa Ports, graduated from the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute (OU EDI) on October 28, 2021.

As the director of the Tulsa Ports’ workforce and education initiatives, Shook saw the OU EDI program as an opportunity to enhance her understanding of economic and workforce development in the manufacturing industry, thus allowing her to better support the Tulsa Ports’ existing businesses while recruiting new businesses and creating greater career opportunities at both Tulsa Port locations in Catoosa and Inola.

Recently, the Manufacturing Institute reported a record-breaking 900,000 jobs available nationwide in the manufacturing industry, with an estimated 4 million jobs to be filled by the end of the decade. Currently, 70 companies located within the 2,000-acre industrial park at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa employ nearly 3,000 workers. As Shook works with her colleagues on the Port Authority staff to recruit new businesses to the industrial parks, they will continue to create more career opportunities for Oklahomans and contribute to the nationwide growth of the manufacturing industry. As a result, the Tulsa Ports yearly economic impact in the state of Oklahoma will increase and allow greater opportunities for its citizens and their families.

“Our primary focus is growing quality careers in our area and providing a great place to work,” Shook said. “Through the knowledge I’ve gained from this nationally-recognized program, I can help Tulsa Ports continue to grow and support the community and economic development of both Tulsa Ports locations.”

“Over the past five years, it has been my goal to develop an unparalleled economic and industrial development team for the Port Authority,” said Port Director David Yarbrough. “Sheila’s completion of this valuable program is another milestone in the development of Tulsa Ports as a premier industrial and transportation location.”

OU EDI is an intensive 117-hour certificate program which provides a broad spectrum of advanced education for the economic development professional. The classes focus on three major core areas including: Business Retention and Expansion, Real Estate and Credit Analysis, as well as areas of concentration in Workforce Development, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Entrepreneurship, Community & Neighborhood Development, and Managing Economic Development Organizations.

“OU EDI is the premier organization dedicated to training economic development professionals,” said Mark James, Dean of OU EDI. “These graduates represent some of the finest economic development practitioners in the U.S. working to support their local communities. My congratulations to them.”