Tulsa, OK

Is Tulsa for you? The $10,000 grant to move there may convince you to say yes

Jade-Ceres Violet D. Munoz

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Photo by Jon Grogan on Unsplash

Tulsa, the second largest city in Oklahoma, has something for everyone. From massive green spaces to a vibrant art district, art deco buildings to a thriving food scene, Tulsa will not leave you wanting.

Once called the “oil capital of the world,” Tulsa sits on top of the world’s largest known oil reservoir. Today, the growing city offers an incredibly low cost of living. Compared to New York, the cost of living is about 61% less. The median home price in Tulsa is $157,200 -- 43% less than the national average.

The Tulsa Remote program invites remote workers to move to the city. The $10,000 grant aims to fuel the city’s growth. The stipend will be paid out over the course of a year. An upfront amount will be given to successful candidates to help with the relocation expenses. Program participants will also receive a year-long membership at 36 Degrees North -- a dynamic coworking space in Downtown Tulsa. It provides a desk space to get work done and to collaborate with other digital nomads.

The program also assists with the new residents’ home search through a curated list of the best local apartments. There will be regular community-building programs, events, and meetups to help program participants stay connected and engage with the local community.

Tulsa Remote is funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation to “enhance Tulsa’s talented and successful workforce community by bringing diverse, bridge and driven individuals to the city for community building, collaboration, and networking.”

The program was launched in 2018 and so far, has received more than 20,000 applications from people all over the world. In 2020, Tulsa Remote welcomed over 375 new people to the city. They are looking for more remote workers in 2021.

"We started with the goal to introduce Tulsa to the nation and create a vibrant and diverse talent ecosystem within our community," said Tulsa Remote Interim Executive Director Ben Stewart. "We seek to bring people from diverse industries and skillsets that bring jobs with them into our economy, and at the same time, population growth is always important."

To qualify for the program, applicants must be full-time remote workers or be self-employed currently located outside Oklahoma and have work rights in the U.S. They must also be over 18 years old and should be able to move to Tulsa within the 2021 calendar year. They will also need to stay in Tulsa for at least one year. Finalists are interviewed via video call but some are asked to visit in person if they have never been to Tulsa.

The program has been successful so far with a retention rate of 97%. "Our members vote, they buy houses here, but they also volunteer in numerous activities. That's the secret to Tulsa Remote's success, that community integration element. We really want people to see themselves in Tulsa for the long haul and get to know and enjoy Tulsa. Our goal is that they become lifelong Tulsans." Added Stewart.

The program has attracted people from diverse backgrounds. 40 percent of the participants come from the tech industry, but other job ranges include journalists and Japanese opera singers. More than half of the applicants are from California and New York.

“The citizens of Tulsa have invested substantial public funds to build the types of things that we believe make Tulsa a more appealing place for a new generation of workers,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “And the Tulsa Remote program is really a great way to introduce the very kinds of workers that we’re hoping to appeal to, to the city that we’ve been building for the last decade to appeal to them.”

The city has seen many updates over the past decades, including the 66-acre riverfront park called Gathering Place. It has out-of-this-world structures, a bar, and a lounge space. The revitalized spaces across the city have transformed it into the perfect playground for Millenials.

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