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Certified Welcoming

Tulsa is now the first city in Oklahoma to become Certified Welcoming, a formal designation given to cities by Welcoming America as it relates to practices and programs that reflects our city's values and commitment to immigrant inclusion. 

About Welcoming America

Welcoming America, a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to support communities building a welcoming society where every person, including immigrants, can fully contribute and shape our shared prosperity.

Welcoming America offers several programs and initiatives to help cities fully harness the talents, skills, and contributions of every resident so that all can thrive.

Tulsa has participated in several Welcoming America programs including Gateways for Growth Grant (received this in 2017); Welcoming Week (every September); Welcoming Economies (received in 2021); Welcoming Interactive Conference.

The City of Tulsa is proud to be the first Certified Welcoming City in Oklahoma as well as the first in the nation to achieve a 3-star designation (out of 5 stars).

This Certified Welcoming program assesses local governments on their efforts to include and welcome immigrants in all areas of civic, social, and economic life in their communities.

The Certified Welcoming process provides cities with valuable insight and feedback to identify a city’s strengths and opportunities for improvement, build deeper partnerships, and advance further commitment to welcoming and inclusion in our community.  

With a Certified Welcoming designation, cities distinguish their local efforts, build a competitive advantage, and gain access to opportunities to share their welcoming practices on a regional, national, and global stage.

Certified Welcoming provides a benefit to everyone in the community by ensuring that all residents are able to participate in the economy and civic and social life.

Learn more online.

The Certified Welcoming standard is organized into seven categories. Within each category are multiple criteria that local governments must fulfill based on the star level (five stars total). Below are some highlights from Welcoming America’s assessment of programs that were submitted as evidence that helped Tulsa achieve Certified Welcoming Status.

Government and Community Leadership

  • Clear commitment from government leaders, staff and community partners to advance immigrant inclusion.
  • The response from the City of Tulsa and community partners to the Afghan arrivals that demonstrated a strong network with an ability to respond cohesively.
  • City of Tulsa Language Access Policy and bilingual pay incentive.
  •  Creation of the Asian Affairs Commission which will have a seat on the Human Rights Commission.

Safe Communities

  • Tulsa Police Department’s weekly radio program, Policia y Bandidos engages residents whose primary language is Spanish.

Civic Engagement

  • The use of ARPA funding to create a revolving loan for citizenship fees which helps eliminate citizenship barriers and fosters economic stability.
  • The MORE office translated voter registration instruction sheets and other related documents into the top 3 languages most spoken in Tulsa and is in the process of creating a voter education program in Spanish and Zopau.

Connected Communities

  • The creative placemaking in the Tulsa Global District was notable for transforming underutilized parking lots into event spaces demonstrating out-of-the-box thinking and resourcefulness.

Economic Development

  • There is a clear network of economic development agencies, community-based organizations, and the City of Tulsa working together to advance economic and workforce opportunities for the immigrant community.
  • Tulsa’s Flourish Tulsa program (Skilled Immigrant Integration Program) supports and addresses challenges faced by underemployed foreign educated or trained immigrants.
  • The City of Tulsa's use of ARPA funding to cover the costs of credential evaluations to enhance the local workforce by recognizing the skills and qualifications of foreign trained immigrants.

Equitable Access

  • The Habitat for Humanity program, Boomtown, is a highlight for its ability to ensure barriers, including immigration status.
  • The City of Tulsa is proactively identifying city documents to translate consistently to Spanish and Zopau.


  • Tulsa Public Schools, Jenks Public Schools, and Union Public Schools all have programs to address barriers to navigating the school system.
  • The family, friends, and neighbors’ program at Tulsa Educare is a highlight for its bilingual support of informal caregivers and providing education to promote children's development.
  • The bilingual Child Development Certificate at Tulsa Community College is also noteworthy for its efforts to expand economic and educational opportunities.
  • The Educare Early Learning Works program that aims to license more Latinx/Hispanic in-home childcare providers is noteworthy.
  • The bilingual English learner parent Advisory Committee at Tulsa Public Schools

Dozens of partners helped Tulsa achieve Certified Welcoming status.  The organizations below played a pivotal role in the comprehensive audit that took place in 2023 and showcased the incredible dedication and leadership in our city to support immigrant inclusion.

    • AAON
    • CAP Tulsa
    • Catholic Charities
    • Community Health Connection
    • COT Communications Dept
    • COT Customer Care
    • COT DCE
    • COT Development Services
    • COT Human Resources Department
    • Dream Center
    • El Centro
    • EMSA
    • Gilead counseling
    • George Kaiser Family Foundation
    • Green Country Habitat
    • Green Country Works
    • Growing Together
    • INCOG
    • inTulsa
    • Jenks Public School
    • Leadership Tulsa
    • League of Women Voters
    • Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma
    • Master Mind Organization
    • NewU Tulsa
    • NSU
    • Tulsa Parks
    • Partner Tulsa
    • Rivas and Associates
    • B'nai Emunah Synagogue
    • Tulsa Chamber of Commerce
    • Tulsa Community College
    • Tulsa Educare
    • Tulsa Global District
    • Tulsa Health Department
    • Tulsa Honor Academy
    • Tulsa Housing Authority
    • Tulsa Latin American Chamber of Commerce
    • Tulsa City County Library
    • Tulsa Police Department
    • Tulsa Public Schools
    • Tulsa Tech
    • Tulsa Transit
    • UMA Tulsa
    • Union Public School
    • YWCA Tulsa