Looking to draw tech workers, creatives and other digital nomads, Tulsa, Oklahoma has created Tulsa Remote, a special program that offers $10,000 grants to eligible applicants who commit to living in the city for a year and working remotely.
Eligible workers receive access to additional benefits, including a co-working space that comes with complimentary snacks and beverages, as well as monthly meetups and workshops with fellow members and Tulsa entrepreneurs.
Program participants will also have the option of living in a new, fully-furnished apartment for a discounted rent, plus free utilities for the first three months.
Money from each grant will be distributed throughout the course of one year. Participants will receive an initial $2,500 for relocation expenses, a $500 monthly stipend and a final payout of $1,500 once the program is completed.
By enticing young professionals to stay for at least one year, the city hopes that newcomers will decide to remain in Tulsa long term and shape the community by starting new businesses, launching non-profits or even running for political office, says Ken Levit, an executive director at the George Kaiser Family Foundation, a group that works to tackle pressing issues in the Tulsa community and is partnering with the city on this initiative.
While the program seeks strong workers from the tech sector, adds Levit, it also hopes to draw a broad array of “dynamic and talented” applicants, such as corporate recruiters, researchers and writers.
Tulsa Remote began accepting applications today. To be eligible, applicants must provide proof of employment, be 18 or older, work for a business that’s based out of Tulsa County, and pledge to move to and live in Tulsa for a minimum of one year.
Participants can live in the City of Tulsa or in the county. Those who live in the county must work out of the co-working space the program has provided. The program will start with small groups of around 10 to 15 people at a time, Levit says. Eventually, he adds, the city hopes to have up to 300 remote workers in the program.
Tulsa joins a growing list of U.S. cities looking to attract young professionals, a list that includes: Baltimore, Maryland; St. Clair County, Michigan; and Marquette, Kansas.
Similarly, Vermont signed a bill into law last May that will pay workers $10,000 to move to the state and work remotely for an out-of-state employer.
“Remote workers have an economy already that they’ll be bringing with them,” says Levit. “We want to target folks who show promise.”