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Council Approves More Than $4.7 Million in COVID-19 Relief Programming To Aid In Tulsa’s Economic Recovery, Prevent Drug Addiction

This article was archived on 3/13/2021

On Wednesday, the Tulsa City Council approved $4,781,250 in funding for Phase 3 projects, part of the COVID-19 Relief programming to help in Tulsa’s economic recovery during the pandemic.

"For the past four years, we have focused on becoming a globally competitive, world-class city,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “In the face of the current public health and economic crisis, we are more committed than ever to investing in initiatives that will help Tulsa build a strong, resilient economy. These programs will help us grow Tulsa's economy by focusing on both sides of the jobs equation: ensuring we're creating more 21st century jobs, and training Tulsans to move into living wage careers.”

$3.1 million of the funds will go toward a partnership between the City of Tulsa and Tulsa Community WorkAdvance (TCW) that will support Tulsans who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to help find high-wage employment.

Under the name Retrain Tulsa, TCW will utilize the funds to create a new hub that will expand its current physical facility in Downtown Tulsa and online space to provide equitable access to career counseling, soft skills training and retraining for a new career. To date, TCW has helped more than 1,700 Tulsans find employment.

“Madison Strategies Group is excited to partner with the City of Tulsa and other organizations across the community to launch Retrain Tulsa and empower job seekers to access a variety of career services and businesses can find the workers they need,” said Karen Pennington, executive director of MSG and Retrain Tulsa. “We’re using our evidence-based model to build a program that will be responsive to the needs of residents and employers and that will expand existing programs to prepare jobseekers to productively return to the workforce.”  

Retrain Tulsa aims to help at least 500 Tulsans over a two-year period find jobs in industries such as healthcare, information technology, professional services and advanced manufacturing.

Councilors also approved $1.2 million to support business incubation for startup companies and entrepreneurs. The City will partner with 36 Degrees North, a local nonprofit organization that supports innovators, to transform the currently vacant 5th floor of City Hall into a state-certified business incubator.

The space will provide 50,000 square feet for small companies to grow, access technology and create high-paying jobs to strengthen the workforce, as well as provide online training workshops.

“36 Degrees North is excited to launch this new, high-growth business incubation space. It will be a true public-private partnership with the City of Tulsa that will drive economic impact in our community through entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Devon Laney, the president and CEO of 36 Degrees North.

Last year, the nonprofit organization served 285 companies that helped create and retain more than 1,000 jobs in Tulsa.

The third project approved on Wednesday was a new methamphetamine treatment plan at 12&12, one of the state’s largest comprehensive community addiction recovery centers for adults. With the long-lasting effects of COVID-19 on mental health, the program will tackle Tulsa’s methamphetamine addiction through case management, peer recovery support, staffing and data collection.

“Methamphetamine kills more Tulsans than any other illicit substance, and the need for addiction treatment in Tulsa is growing as the pandemic worsens anxiety and other mental health challenges,” said Tricia Mason, 12&12’s Chief Operating Officer. “We are proud to partner with the City of Tulsa to help more of our neighbors find recovery from addiction amid this global health emergency.”

The program aims to treat an estimated 400 new clients to treat methamphetamine addiction. This project will be funded with $252,000.

The fourth item approved by the Council is $89,000 in ongoing funding for two City personnel handling the project progress and communication of the Coronavirus Relief Funds until the end of next fiscal year.

Since August, more than $16 million in COVID-19 Relief funding, allocated by the State of Oklahoma, have been distributed to help in these major areas: enable the safe resumption of economic and community activities in Tulsa; support personal and financial health measures for all Tulsans; and build infrastructure to make Tulsa more resilient for the next shock

For more information and a breakdown of each program currently funded, visit: