Tulsa’s Job Recruiting On Track

Monday, April 16th 2007, 4:00 pm
By: News On 6

The jobs have been counted and the results are in. On Monday the Metro Chamber of Commerce gave a progress report on Tulsa's Future. That's their 5-year program to attract 26,000 new jobs to town, and they want 10,000 of those jobs to have salaries of $45,000 or more. So one year in, how are they doing? News On 6 business reporter Steve Berg reports after one year in the 5-year program, they've got almost one-fifth of the jobs they wanted, so they feel like they're right on track.

So what is Tulsa's Future? Well, for one thing, Chamber President Mike Neal says it has included some amazing generosity from the city's business community.

"This is really Tulsa's first-ever, mega commitment to private-sector economic development," he said.

Seventy-two private investors, along with the city, gave more than $9-million for an aggressive recruiting effort. A national ad campaign to promote Tulsa is in the works, they’ve been to more than a dozen trade shows and conferences, and they've made more than 200 visits to existing companies in Tulsa to find out how to help them.

Some of the successes have come in the form of new businesses. A big one came in June when Capital One announced 600 jobs for a new customer service center here. And then there are the existing Tulsa businesses, like BizJet, which expanded in October. In all, the Chamber says Tulsa's Future helped create 4,422 new jobs in its first year. And more than a fourth of those have salaries topping $45,000 a year.

"So we're really trying to target high-value, high-wage jobs," Neal said.

There have actually been more jobs created here than that, but the chamber says it's only taking credit for the jobs it had an active role in recruiting.

The $9-million from private investors is a generous gift, but Neal says they are the sort of people who also expect results.

"We're raising a significant amount of dollars, a significant amount of private sector investment," he said. "So you've got to be able to tell these folks if you're doing well or not."

This year, they're off to a good start, with more newcomers to Tulsa like a Coca-Cola customer service center and a Foam Rubber production factory.

"It looks like '07 is going to be an even better year than '06, but there's still a lot of work left to be done," said Neal.

And so far in 2007, the chamber says it's well ahead of last year's pace with about 1,400 new jobs so far.