• Could Tulsa be the next Portland?

    By: Michelle Linn

    Updated:

    TULSA, Okla. - Recruiting and retaining young, educated workers is a challenge, and community leaders say our city can learn important lessons from one that is nearly 2,000 miles away.

    "Transportation, quality downtown, retail, grocery, more affordable housing in the downtown region. All of those things are going to help drive more retention and attraction of young talent," said Denise Reid, Executive Director of Mosaic and Workforce for Tulsa Regional Chamber.

    Those are all things Reid says you can find right now, in Portland, Oregon.

    Reid says recruiting 25-to-34-year-old educated workers is something Tulsa companies must be doing now.

    "We have a retiring population, some people call it the 'silver tsunami'. It’s a reality we’re facing, we need to have the backfill of educated and skilled talent here in Tulsa," said Reid.

    "We know that Baby Boomers are retiring at 10,000-a-day rate, we also know that Millennials will represent 70% of the workforce in the next ten years," said Isaac Rocha, Chairperson of TYPROS.

    "If we want to stay competitive, we really have to look at what is attractive to my generation, and really that walkability, bikeability, strong urban core is crucial," said Rocha.

    Rocha was one of 120 community leaders who visited Portland, Oregon last week.

    The Tulsa Chamber chose that city because it is winning the race for young talent.

    But, Rocha says it is not about Tulsa becoming the next Portland.

    "We’re not going to look like Portland, just like we’re not going to look like Pittsburgh, and we’re not going to look like Oklahoma City. We need to stop apologizing for being Tulsa and we need to start embracing that we’re a strong region and a strong community that's going to be an attractive place for future generations," said Rocha.

    In previous years, the Tulsa Regional Chamber has visited Pittsburgh, Charlotte, and Indianapolis to study how cities have worked together as a region, toward success.

    "We’re on the cusp of change and I know that moving forward Tulsa can be an exciting place to live," Rocha said.

    In previous years, the city has visited Pittsburgh, Charlotte, and Indianapolis tostudy how cities have worked together as a region, toward success.

    Rocha says Tulsa's success in attracting a young talented workforce all begins by developing a vibrant and successful downtown area.

    He says with affordable housing, bikeability and walkability, the entire region, including cities like Broken Arrow, Jenks, and Owasso, will benefit.

    To learn more about the Tulsa Regional Chamber's visit to Portland last week, just click this link.

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