In urban areas like Wichita, Kansas and Tulsa, Oklahoma, growth rate has become very stagnant. One may ask, what can be done to solve this issue? Foundations like Wichita Promise Move and the Tulsa Remote Program step in with incentives to make people move to their city. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Technologies from the University of Northern Iowa, I was one of the many to receive an invite to apply for the Tulsa Remote program. This program offered people $10,000 to move to Tulsa, OK for a minimum of one year. With a life goal to pursue my Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS) license, I strongly considered this incentive, but I wasn’t sure if dropping everything and moving was the correct choice for me. But, the story of these innovative foundations kept me interested enough to do more research. I will cover the void in specific industries as well as the great innovation for education.
The largest technical college in Kansas is paying relocation and housing costs for students to move to the area, many from other states, to deal with a workforce shortage in the local aviation industry. The workforce shortage in the aviation manufacturing industry was the driver of the technical college’s experiment with paying potential students to move from across the country to enroll at the two-year institution. The program is called, “Wichita Promise MOVE.” Wichita Promise MOVE is designed to remove the barriers that keep individuals from getting trained in high-demand career fields. It is a scholarship program available exclusively to people outside of the Wichita area who are willing and able to relocate to start a new career. The Wichita Promise MOVE scholarship pays tuition and fees for eligible programs at Wichita State University Tech (WSU Tech). It provides certifications and credentials, personal career coaching and a guaranteed job interview. In addition, Wichita Promise MOVE will pay relocation expenses, cost of living expenses while in the program and offer a potential sign-on bonus upon completion.
The Tulsa Remote Program is another incentive that offers people $10,000 to move to Tulsa, OK for a minimum of one year. But, there is a large difference between the two programs. Wichita Promise MOVE wants students to move to Wichita and work in Wichita. The Tulsa Remote Program wants people to move to Tulsa but are required to obtain a job outside of Tulsa County. You may ask, why would a foundation pay people to move to a city and not work in the city? The simple answer, filling a void.
“We created Tulsa Remote to enhance Tulsa’s talented and successful workforce community by bringing diverse, bright and driven individuals to the city for community building, collaboration and networking.”
“Innovation in education means allowing imagination to flourish and not be afraid to try new things. Sometimes these new things fail but it can be incredible when they succeed. Without the right attitude, innovation would just be a word and the art of education would miss out on some great accomplishments.” The innovative brains behind the foundations to bring people to their cities is simply genius. The genius part behind everything, is recognizing the lack of growth in Tulsa or the aviation program in Wichita. Acknowledging that something needs to be done was a huge step in the right direction.
In recap, these two foundations have started a new trend in higher education and in community growth. Many students in or out of school want to move around the country and gain different experiences. These innovative foundations are now allowing students to make those dreams come true. Will more institutions adopt this idea of filling a void? Only time will tell.