Tulsa’s growth and trajectory as an emerging tech center is continuing to make national headlines, and the city is poised to compete on the global stage.
We are extremely excited about recent developments, as a local Tulsa-based coalition was recently awarded a $38.2 million grant as part of President Biden's Build Back Better Plan. The coalition, which consists of government, non-profit and private organizations, will use the funds to create the Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility Corridor, a program that will create thousands of local jobs and ensure an innovative, resilient, and future-proof economy in Tulsa.
The coalition will be headed by INCOG (the Indian Nations Council of Governments) and will include multiple partners, including our partner organization Tulsa Innovation Labs, Tulsa Ports, the Tulsa Regional Chamber, and other local partners.
inTulsa has been hard at work building Tulsa’s technology ecosystem in order to attract the jobs of the future to our city. Grants like this not only recognize the hard work involved, but also accelerate our progress.
As Tulsa Mayor, G.T. Bynum stated in this article on the types of technologies the city is developing: "Everything from electric vehicles to drones, all of the next wave of technology that's going to transform the way people live."
These efforts are going to impact, and offer opportunities, to everyone in the city: "As we talk about building Black Wall Street for the 21st century in the Greenwood district, this is a huge day for Tulsa." We’re excited about these possibilities and others that will present themselves going forward.
The Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility (TRAM) Corridor
The Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility Corridor is essentially an umbrella program with four separate projects, which work together to help put Tulsa on the map in this space.
There are a number of aspects that are part of the program and are designed to accelerate tech growth. Some of these include creating a drone testing corridor from Tulsa to Stillwater, as well as developing a research center in the Greenwood District to develop new technology.
There will also be a focus on funding more degree programs and apprenticeships in advanced mobility, thus increasing the region’s workforce. The last pillar of the plan is building a new industrial treatment facility at the Tulsa Port of Inola that will treat over 4 million gallons of wastewater per day.
Job Creation and Revenue
The Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility Corridor is projected to generate up to 40,000 new jobs in Tulsa, the equivalent of $3 to $5 billion in economic activity, in just the first few years of operations.
The goal isn’t only to create job opportunities now, but to create a leading economy in the advanced mobility industry for the future. Tulsa is the ideal city for this, as this area has been home to aerospace, manufacturing, and energy companies for many years.
In addition to creating thousands of jobs for Tulsa residents, the TRAM will address economic disparities among different groups in and around the city. In this way, tech jobs created will be a great equalizer.
The vision is that everyone in Tulsa will be included in a brighter future, and we are making sure that the city is preparing for that future with advancements and investment in the newest tech.
An Eye toward the Future
This program is beneficial to local Tulsans as it offers opportunities to all residents, regardless of their background.
It will also help position Tulsa as a center of excellence in this space, and in that regard it is attractive for knowledge workers who are seeking an active tech ecosystem and opportunities when deciding where to move to.
This, in turn, is key for hiring managers as the migration of talent is locating to emerging ecosystems such as Tulsa, and this grant will only help us further draw highly-skilled talent.
About the Build Back Better Plan
Build Back Better is a rescue plan designed by President Biden and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) with the goal of bolstering post-pandemic economic recovery while implementing innovative plans for the future. It has been compared to FDR’s New Deal, a program designed to rebuild the country after the Great Depression.
Tulsa is one of 21 recipients to win funding from the Build Back Better Plan, along with Oklahoma City, making Oklahoma one of only two states to receive two grants.
In looking toward the future, Tulsa is also part of a larger initiative, which crosses state lines and will make an impact nationally. As this piece states:
“This new grant from the EDA comes on the heels of a recent partnership between Oklahoma Governor Stitt and Arkansas Governor Hutchinson to create a ‘super-region’ for advanced mobility. The collaboration supports the growth of the AM industry—focusing on drones, electric vehicles, battery manufacturing, and transportation and logistics solutions—with the goal of creating new research and testing space, supporting local AM startups, attracting new corporations, and convening industries to test and scale new technologies.”
This grant was awarded because the White House saw the opportunity in Tulsa’s people. We are excited not only with the support in building a future Tulsa, but also in being a guiding force in the nation.
Success begets success, and we’ll only go from strength to strength in the coming years in building a significant ecosystem with the support of this grant.