Dr. Marie Gould Harper

Start a management degree at American Public University.

By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Program Director, Management, American Public University

After Amazon made its decision on an East Coast headquarters and opted to split the location between New York and Arlington, Virginia, some critics said that small cities never had a chance. They claimed that the process was rigged from the beginning and was “a political, cynical move that deviated from the spirit of its original RFP.”

I was surprised by this reaction because I did not see what the problem was. After all, companies compete.

Why should there be an issue with cities competing? Shouldn’t cities be responsible for generating revenue and attracting residents?

When companies consider various cities for relocation, the perks tend to be good incentives for an organization to set up headquarters in a particular location. However, Abdullah Snobar of Quartz observes that “critics note that giveaways divert government dollars from traditional public services like education, frequently costing more than the realized benefits — even over the long term.”

While I see the benefits of having healthy competition, a part of me wonders what is going to happen to small-town USA. Will smaller towns survive the turbulence of our present economy? How will they continue to grow? Is it possible to develop a campaign and offer incentives to entice individuals to move nearer to their work? I believe so.

Tulsa Offering People a Cash Incentive to Move There

Tulsa, Oklahoma, is aiming to attract new residents by creating a program called Tulsa Remote, offering remote workers and entrepreneurs a cash incentive of $10,000 to move there. If people agree to stay for a minimum of one year, they will receive cash that includes rent subsidies and stipends. Tulsa Remote has received approximately 6,000 applications since it went live at the beginning of this month.

If I did not have a preference for living on one of the coasts, I would take this offer under serious consideration. Why?

  • It is an easy way to make $10,000 for a one-year commitment. Nothing has to be forever. Why not consider this hiatus as a pivot stop on your life’s journey?
  • There will be some people who will go there with the intention of leaving after a year. But for some people, once the year is up, they decide to stay.
  • It is an opportunity for the city to attract new blood through incentives and possibly stimulate the creativity needed for Tulsa’s economic growth.

More small-town USA locations should follow Tulsa’s lead and be innovative in their ideas about their future. These small towns will need to find their organizational niche and pursue new, non-traditional ventures and opportunities if they want to ensure their economic survival.

About the Author

Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Program Director of Management at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.

Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and influential leader, manifesting people skills, a systematic approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.