By MIKE NEAL
President and CEO, Tulsa Metro Chamber
COMPACT SIGNING: Area chambers of commerce sign a compact to enhance regional cooperation. The regional commitment to economic development, solidified in 2011 with compact signing ceremonies, includes seven chambers of commerce in northeast Oklahoma.
Courtesy Tulsa Metro Chamber
The Tulsa region continues to solidify its standing as a national leader, earning accolades for its impressive job creation, thriving economy and more. While much of the country continues to struggle in its recovery from the protracted economic downturn, the Tulsa region has emerged as a significant competitor in economic development.
We are experiencing strong job creation, as well as unemployment levels lower than those in most metro areas across the United States. Much of the outstanding progress northeast Oklahoma has made recently can be attributed to the region’s unified approach to challenges and opportunities. A regional approach is essential in contemporary economic development, as cities are not competing one-on-one for investment and job creation, but instead are competing on a global scale.
The Tulsa region is cohesive and is becoming synonymous with effective economic development that yields results, both in terms of capital investment and in terms of providing a strong base for employment and continued growth. In recent months, the Tulsa region has been recognized by The Fiscal Times as a top location for young people to find employment and as a top U.S. manufacturing base by Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In addition, we’ve been recognized as a national leader for percentage growth in exports by the Brookings Institution. Northeast Oklahoma also has earned recognition for factors related to its livability, business friendliness and other attributes.
The Chamber is pleased to be able to work for a better employment outlook and a stronger economy. We want to build upon this momentum. One of the ways the Tulsa Metro Chamber and its many steadfast partners in economic development collaborate to build a stronger regional economy is through the Tulsa’s Future initiative, an ongoing public-private economic development plan. The plan is for a new, more holistic approach to economic development. The goals of Tulsa’s Future are to create 10,000 primary, high-value jobs with annual salaries greater than $50,000 and to generate capital investment of $1 billion.
The Tulsa’s Future initiative focuses on business retention and expansion, business attraction marketing, entrepreneurship and small business development, education and workforce attraction, advocacy and outreach and community development.
Tulsa’s Future has demonstrated a commitment to bringing together public and private partners with a stake in our region’s economic prosperity, and nearly 140 public and private sector partners support regional economic development efforts through the Tulsa’s Future initiative.
That includes 27 regional partner organizations representing 16 communities throughout northeast Oklahoma.
The diverse group of Tulsa’s Future investors, including cities, counties, tribes, chambers of commerce and businesses across northeast Oklahoma, greatly enhance our effectiveness in creating economic growth in the Tulsa region. Tulsa’s Future is creating jobs, attracting new business, recruiting a talented workforce and improving the region’s competitive positioning and economic prosperity.
The Tulsa’s Future plan is working.
The initiative has had a hand in the announcement of more than 10,800 jobs since 2011. More than half of those jobs have an annual salary greater than $50,000.
The Tulsa region has a unique opportunity right now to grow our economy and improve our communities on many levels. It takes a dynamic region that is committed to promoting business and to remaining business-friendly to ensure that companies are given every opportunity to grow and expand their workforces.
As Tulsa and its many regional partners look to the road ahead, we see limitless opportunities to solidify our reputation as a national and international leader. A cohesive, regional approach to economic development will continue to lead the way to growth and success.