Largest Remote Work Program in US Reaches Key Milestone

Tulsa Remote, the largest remote work incentive program in the United States, announced it has recruited and relocated more than 2,000 remote workers to the city of Tulsa, Okla.

Tulsa Remote was launched in 2018 by the George Kaiser Family Foundation to attract and retain highly skilled young professionals away from major coastal cities and business hubs like New York and San Francisco. The previous trend, of workers nationwide relocating to the coasts, was endangering the heartland’s ability to develop technology, innovation and entrepreneurial sectors – a brain drain that was ruinous for economic development

“The economic and social impact of the Tulsa Remote program is remarkable,” says Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, associate professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. “Tulsa Remote is creating opportunities not only for the city of Tulsa but is also setting an example for many other heartland cities. Tulsa Remote provides a playbook for how to engage participants and create value for the community in the heartland.” 

The Tulsa Remote program offers a $10,000 stipend to participants willing to relocate for at least one year, access to a free co-working space at 36 Degrees North – Tulsa’s basecamp for entrepreneurs, startups, and innovators–housing assistance, and an engaged community with built-in programming, events, and meetups to help new Tulsans thrive in their new hometown.

When it launched, Tulsa Remote saw the program as an experiment that might stay at modest scale – but it received 10,000 applicants in the first year and more than double that in 2021, which far exceeded expectations.

Today the program has more than 2,000 members – with the largest referral markets being Austin, Texas; Dallas; Los Angeles; and New York – and encompasses sectors including tech, finance and communications. According to a recent Brookings report, the program has built a diverse community with people from all backgrounds who are likely to stay in Tulsa long-term, more likely to be actively engaged in the local community and are experiencing higher real income growth. As a matter of fact, Tulsa Remoters showed an increase in their real income that was $26.5k/year larger than that of accepted applicants that have yet to move, even though these groups had similar 2018 income.

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