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Tulsa, Oklahoma, is looking to diversify its growth by recruiting new residents through a program that can truly pay off.

By Rachel Chang
November 23, 2020
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If you’re working remotely and looking for a change of scenery, Tulsa might be calling your name. The Oklahoma city is looking to recruit more residents and will pay you $10,000 to live there for a year. 

The Tulsa Remote program, which launched in November 2018, is currently looking for 250 more remote workers who can move to the city within the next six months, according to its site

As a reward, the new Oklahomans will receive $10,000, which includes a relocation budget, monthly stipends, and the remaining amount at the completion of a full year. In addition, the digital nomads will receive membership to the 36 Degrees North coworking space, as well as assistance in finding a local apartment and access to its own community-building program. The program is funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

“We started with the goal to introduce Tulsa to the nation and create a vibrant and diverse talent ecosystem within our community,” Tulsa Remote’s interim executive director, Ben Stewart, told CNN. “We seek to bring people from diverse industries and skill sets that bring jobs with them into our economy, and at the same time, population growth is always important.”

Tulsa downtown skyline with trees and the Arkansas river in the foreground.
Credit: Getty Images

So far, 400 people have joined the program and only three have left the city. Interest has increased since the coronavirus pandemic has led to more people working from home, Stewart added. 

The majority of the Tulsa Remote applicants are from New York and California, and more than 40% are in the tech industry, but professions also include journalists and Japanese opera singers, he told CNN. Participants have ranged from 22 to 64 years old, the site says.

To apply, candidates must be 18 or older and eligible to work in the U.S. They should also already be employed in a profession that allows for remote working. Selected finalists will then move on to a video interview. Current Oklahoma residents are not eligible. 

Selected participants will need to live in Tulsa city limits for a year. Admissions are on a rolling basis, so there’s no specific deadline as long as applications are open.

The program is meant for those who have a full-time remote job outside of the state and don’t need to go into the office on a daily basis. However, those who work for rideshare and delivery services are not eligible.

“We have an incredibly high retention rate at 97%, as so many participants truly connect to the city during their year-long stint,” Tulsa Remote’s spokesperson, Katie Bullock, told CNN.

“Our members vote, they buy houses here, but they also volunteer in numerous activities,” Stewart added. “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.”

Tulsa isn’t the only U.S. city luring in new residents with cash. Earlier this year, Topeka offered people up to $15,000 to move there and Northwest Arkansas is giving $10,000 — and a mountain bike — to new residents.