Buy local: Hire Tulsa's top talent


Cherie Cook (resume is here) writes to alert me to a website aimed at helping to place laid-off workers so they won't have to leave Tulsa. Tulsa has a lot of unemployed engineers, managers, and other white-collar workers, because of problems at companies like WorldCom and Williams. I have many friends in this situation, unemployed or underemployed. They love Tulsa, and they would dearly love to stay here, but they can't stay unless they can find work. (Not one of them has said that they are moving because Tulsa lacks a 20,000-seat sports arena.) These people represent intellectual capital, and their departure would make it harder to attract new high tech business to Tulsa, and harder for existing high tech companies to expand.

I'm pleased to read that there is an effort to stop the brain drain. There's a website called, a project of Tulsa's federally-funded Workforce Investment Board. It includes a collection of about 100 resumes of workers in 10 categories, such as administrative, engineering, finance, and information technology. Just a browse through some resumes reveals a wealth of knowledge and experience that we can't afford to lose.

When Joel Kotkin spoke in Tulsa last May, he urged Tulsa to find ways to keep laid-off telecom workers here:

But Tulsa can emerge from the Williams Communication Group Inc. bankruptcy crisis stronger than ever by coming up with a plan.

"You should react by saying not that the end is near, but how do we overcome it," Kotkin said. "Those in the telecom industry still have knowledge and skills. Find a way to redeploy them, either in existing companies or by starting new ones."

Tulsa should refine its ability to attract and retain well-educated and highly skilled workers or lose out to other communities with that edge, he said.

"That is the real key issue for Tulsa. . . . All the traditional ideas of economic development, particularly those used here in the Midwest, have failed. I really believe human capital will be much more important in the future, and Tulsa has much to offer in that regard."

If you are hiring, have a look at before searching further.

To tie this back into the upcoming "Forfeit 4 Greater Taxes" vote: The package on the ballot September 9 is heavily focused on the "traditional ideas of economic development" described by Kotkin as "failed": $372 million in taxpayer-funded incentives to attract big companies and $183 million for a sports arena and convention center; Kotkin characterized advocates of that strategy as living in the wrong decade. Aircraft assembly jobs at Boeing, maintenance jobs at American, concession and custodial jobs at a new arena -- an increase in those kinds of jobs will not create new job opportunities for displaced high-tech workers.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 16, 2003 6:28 PM.

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