Thrive in Oklahoma

Young Professionals

Oklahoma Young Professionals Bring Vibrancy to the State

Young Professionals (YPs) are primarily 20-somethings/30-somethings, who are "knowledge workers" employed in fields that require computers, science, or design skills at a high level. This includes what Rebecca Ryan with Next Generation Consulting calls "the green-haired freaks" the musicians, poets, painters, and tattoo artists. YPs don the suit and tie, as well as the dread-locks. They are a varied and vibrant community.

However, a common thread emerges: YPs are looking for a superior quality of life. YPs look for a place to live first, and then they find or create jobs.

"There are two ways to approach economic development," says Scott Cooksey, a Financial Advisor and Chairman of ypTulsa. "There's the old school, which says create the jobs, and people will come. But today, you've got to create a place where the next generation wants to live."

And the YPs in Oklahoma aren't waiting around for someone else to create a place for them. They work with their chambers and economic development agencies to retain and attract young talent; volunteer; raise funds to support the arts and public attractions; sponsor art, music, and sporting events that draw tourists from around the country; and don t-shirts and donate banners that market and promote their cities and the state.

8 Reasons Oklahoma's YPs Live Here

YPs describe their communities as "cool," "vibrant," "happening," and "alive." Through street parties, gallery crawls, and marketing campaigns such as "Tulsa-a New Kind of Energy," "I am Tulsa," and "Keeping it Local," our state's YP groups want to uncover Oklahoma's treasures. Here's an inventory of what they look for and promote:

1. Revitalized downtown districts such as the Brady and Blue Dome districts (Tulsa); Bricktown (Oklahoma City); and Bartlesville's historic downtown.

2. Museums, galleries, and arts districts such as the Price Tower Arts Center (Bartlesville); Paseo Arts District (Oklahoma City); Philbrook and Gilcrease museums (Tulsa).

3. Music and sporting venues, including the large convention center, smaller amphitheaters, or fields and gyms for all sorts of play such as Ford Center (Oklahoma City); Cain's Ballroom (Tulsa); the Bartlesville Community Center; and Ardmore's Charles B. Goddard Center, the Ardmore Studios Building, and the Ardmore Little Theater.

4. Independent, locally owned businesses coffee houses, microbreweries, diners, and upscale restaurants;

5. River and lake front development with plenty of public space, trails, and access such as Bartlesville's Pathfinder Parkway, an 11-mile paved biking and walking trail that connects the city's 13 parks; Lake Hefner and Oklahoma River (Oklahoma City), and The River Walk retail and entertainment district (Tulsa);

6. Low cost of living a YP's dollar stretches farther in Oklahoma;

7. A great environment for entrepreneurs; Expansion Management magazine recently placed Oklahoma on its list of 5-Star Business Opportunity Metros;

8. Easy, but active living there's lots to do, and you don't have to work that hard to get there.

Oklahoma YP Groups

Alliance of Emerging Professionals (AEP), Oklahoma City; Joshua Fahrenbruck, Chairman, (405) 525-4223

(AYPO), Ardmore; Elizabeth Crowley, Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, (580) 223-6162

Tulsa's Young Professionals (TYPros), Tulsa; Chris Oden, Director, (918) 560-0286; Marnie Ducato, Chairman, (918) 599-0029; TYPros Community Calendar

Young Professionals of Bartlesville, Bartlesville; Brent Bonner, Chairman, (918) 661-4562; Young Professionals of Bartlesville Community Calendar