OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An innovative state program run through the state Commerce Department has created 16,500 jobs over the past year.


The Quality Jobs Incentive Program has created more than 158,000 jobs at 381 companies since it became law in 1993.


The program provides qualifying companies that create jobs quarterly cash rebates of up to five percent of taxable wages for up to 10 years.


Since the program began, 65 percent of the companies that qualified were Oklahoma companies expanding their in-state work force. The remaining businesses enrolled were new companies that came to the state at least partially because of the incentive.


This year, the Legislature passed the Quality Investment Act. It helps Oklahoma manufacturers that are ``at risk'' of closing or leaving the state.