I was born and raised in Tulsa. My daughter currently lives in Broken Arrow, a suburb of Tulsa, and my mother still lives in Tulsa.
My hometown has put in place an innovative program to attract workers to Tulsa in areas that are conducive to remote working. The pandemic has taught us that many professions are suitable for working from home, others less so. For those in areas where remote working is appropriate, it doesn’t matter if you are 5 miles or 500 miles from your office and clients.
Tulsa realized that being in the middle of the US and one of the cheapest places to live for workers at 43% of the national average has a competitive advantage. They touted their new world famous park called The Gathering Place and their strong arts programs as part of that space to encourage workers to move to Tulsa. In addition to the amenities and beauty of the city, Tulsa is offering workers $ 10,000 for the move.
Participants in the $ 10,000 incentive to move to Tulsa also receive a one-year membership in a local collaborative space. Originally, the $ 10,000 was spent over time as a scholarship to increase salaries. However, changes have recently been made and Tulsa Remote recipients now receive a flat rate grant of $ 10,000 once they buy a Tulsa home.
The program was launched by the George Kaiser Family Foundation with the intention of recruiting employees from technology centers such as Austin and Silicon Valley. Tulsa recognizes that many of the professionals they are looking to hire have goals that include home ownership, and they have responded to a new option that combines the $ 10,000 grant with a home purchase. This change aims to tie workers to neighborhoods and make them permanent residents of Tulsa. To date, more than 50,000 applications have been received from workers hoping to join the relocation program. The city has taken in more than 600 new residents through the program and has retained an amazing 90% of them.
As cities across the US are looking for opportunities to recruit young professionals and talented workers, I take pride in my hometown for developing this innovative approach and continually modifying the program to meet the city’s goals and help our new Tulsans.
J. David Chapman is an Associate Professor of Finance and Real Estate at the University of Central Oklahoma ([email protected]).