2020 Greater Oklahoma City Welcome Guide

Located in the heart of the city, The Classen features floor-to-ceiling windows that provide breathtaking views of the downtown skyline, the state capitol, and those unforgettable Oklahoma sunsets.

2200 North Classen, OKC 73106 | theclassenokc.com | 405.601.3333

The Park Harvey provides the most practical solution to live, work, and play in downtown OKC. A high rise boasting seventeen stories of spectacular views, stunning architecture, and a vibrant population.

200 N. Harvey, OKC 73102 | theparkharvey.com | 405.232.3700

Spacious floor plans, expansive windows, and ultra-high ceilings create a unique living experience that honors The Montgomery’s history yet embraces a modern urban lifestyle.

500 West Main, OKC 73102 | themontgomeryokc.com | 405.236.2420

Incorporating all the convenience of luxury apartments without losing the amenities of a house, The Big House ® concept offers residents spacious luxury townhome apartments in OKC.

9017 N. University Ave, OKC 73114 | jmarshallsquare.com | 405.702.0060

Apartments for every lifestyle. Gardner Tanenbaum Holdings | 211 N. Robinson Ave, OKC 73102 | gthokc.com | 405.524.8484


About OKC.............................................. 5 Transportation ......................................... 9 Housing ................................................. 13 Economy. ............................................... 17 Education............................................... 21 Out and About. .....................................27 Health & Wellness.................................35 Climate...................................................39

123 Park Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73102 www.okcchamber.com | 405.297.8900

More resources for new residents

VisitOKC.com The Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau is the best place to learn where to dine, shop, and have fun in Oklahoma City for residents and visitors alike. GreaterOklahomaCity.com Geared toward business leaders and entrepreneurs, GreaterOklahomaCity. com is an important economic development resource for businesses looking to grow or locate in our region. The site features useful tools including a web-based property locator and access to the latest market data. OKCChamber.com Learn more about Oklahoma City’s vibrant business community and the vision that is moving Oklahoma City forward. Keep up to date with Chamber events as well. On the go Read the digital edition of this guide on your tablet or smartphone and be a click away from Oklahoma City resources. The digital edition is even easier to share with friends, family and colleagues. Access the guide online at ABetterLifeOKC.com/ welcome.

This guide is your best starting point for moving to Oklahoma City, but this community has so much going on that it is impossible to fit it all into one book. That’s where ABetterLifeOKC. com comes into the picture. A project of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, this comprehensive relocation website provides updated information on housing, education, industries, utilities and more. Looking for something to do on the weekends? A Better Life can help you out there, too. The Better Life blog and weekly newsletter gives you inside information about Oklahoma City’s best attractions, events, volunteer opportunities, and more. Visit ABetterLifeOKC.com/blog to sign up for weekly email alerts about the latest and greatest ways to get connected to your new community. Looking for more? View these other Chamber websites for more information on the community. VeloCityOKC.com With news about Oklahoma City’s growth, this website provides an overview of Oklahoma City’s economy, culture, attractions, events and more.

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About Oklahoma City

Home to more than 1.4 million people, the Oklahoma City region is in the middle of reinventing itself. You can see excitement and progress everywhere, from the urban fabric of our growing downtown to the unique flavor of our historic neighborhoods and districts. When you combine our momentum with the faces of our famously friendly residents, the entrepreneurial spirit of our leaders and a diverse and strong economy, you have a community that is beloved by its residents and the envy of other cities across the country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our city again showed its strength by rallying together to support local businesses, feed our emergency responders and create the supplies

we needed to keep everyone safe. Oklahoma City’s diverse economy provided us a strong foundation so we could move forward, like we’ve done many times in the past.

Our community has used public improvements and large-scale

projects to propel our renaissance and make Oklahoma City a big-league city, not to mention a great place to live, work and play. This enterprise and energy is evident everywhere. From urban hustle to suburban living, Oklahoma City not only makes it all possible, but it makes it easy. This is a place where innovation and invention are embedded in our DNA. But before you learn about where Oklahoma City is heading, you should

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Learn more at PaycomCareers.com.

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About Oklahoma City

know how it all began. The city was founded in the Land Run of 1889 when 50,000 homesteaders raced to stake a claim on unassigned lands. The brave spirit that took our city from a population of zero to 10,000 overnight lives on today and can be seen in our growing companies and in our community attitude. About the region Oklahoma is land of diversity, beauty and hospitality, which is easily seen in the state’s landscape. Mile for mile, Oklahoma has the nation’s most diverse terrain. With 11 distinct ecoregions, four mountain ranges, and more man- made lakes than any other state, the opportunity to enjoy Oklahoma is as unlimited as your imagination. The Greater Oklahoma City region is located in the center of the state, making it easy to explore all that Oklahoma has to offer. When combined with its unique history and the spirit of its people, Oklahoma is a place where anything is possible. To learn more, visit the state’s tourism website at TravelOK. com. The MAPS impact You may wonder how Oklahoma City was able to become a modern Cinderella story, and the answer is simple: Oklahoma City is not afraid to bet on itself. After a decade of economic depression in the 1980s, Oklahoma City leaders knew that if they didn’t invest in themselves, no one else would. A bold plan to reshape Oklahoma City’s future began to take form and the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) program was born. On Dec. 14, 1993, residents of Oklahoma City went to the polls and voted to advance Oklahoma City’s future by approving a temporary penny sales tax. As a result, nine projects were funded and drew attention from around the country. That community-backed investment was spent on renovations to the city’s convention center, performing arts center and fairgrounds; construction of a 15,000-seat ballpark, a mile- long canal, a 20,000-seat arena and a downtown library. MAPS also funded the complete renovation of an often dry riverbed into the Oklahoma River. The return on investment is tangible: To date, $7 billion in economic impact can be directly attributed to the original MAPS program. However,

Downtown attractions backed by MAPS include the Chesapeake Energy Arena, home to the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team (above), the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and Scissortail Park.

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About Oklahoma City

it’s the things you can’t quantify that have contributed the most to Oklahoma City’s story. Because of the original MAPS programs, Oklahoma City is now home to the Oklahoma

Residents continued investing in their city with MAPS 3, the ongoing $777 million capital investment program that

is scheduled to be complete in 2021. Many MAPS 3 projects are changing the landscape of downtown Oklahoma City, including a downtown convention center, Scissortail Park, the OKC Streetcar and an Olympic- caliber whitewater facility called RIVERSPORT Rapids. In 2019, the MAPS 4 initiative was approved, which will bring more than $900 million in investment to the city,

The return on investment is tangible: To date, $7 billion in economic impact can be directly attributed to the original MAPS program.

City Thunder, an NBA team that plays in a MAPS-funded arena. There is an Olympic and Paralympic training site at the Oklahoma River. The area had to be mowed before MAPS reinvented it. MAPS also had a significant impact on downtown Oklahoma City, which has grown

including major investments in the city’s social service organizations. The 16 MAPS 4 projects will span from the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds, where a new arena will be built, to the northeast corner, where a new Civil Rights Center is being constructed. The package has projects that will ultimately improve life for all residents, including four- legged ones. Learn more at okc.gov/maps4.

to more than 77,000 employees and 9,000 residents. The first iteration of this program was so successful that Oklahoma City residents have approved three additional versions. The MAPS for Kids programs invested $700 million into construction, transportation and technology projects benefiting Oklahoma City’s public school students.

know you’re in the right place

TOGETHER because we’re in this

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Moving to Oklahoma City

Getting here and getting around Being equidistant from both coasts at the junction of three of the nation’s major interstate arteries, Oklahoma City’s location ensures easy travel and transportation to anywhere in the United States, whether by plane, train or automobile. Oklahoma City is the Modern Frontier in the southwest, with a variety of cultural influences combining to make it an exceptional place. Read more at ABetterLifeOKC. com/GetAround.

Traveling by car Two of the nation’s most important highways – Interstate 40, which runs from Los Angeles to Raleigh, N.C.; and Interstate 35, which runs all the way from Mexico to Canada – meet in downtown Oklahoma City. The intersection of these major highways, along with the nearly 13,000 miles of streets in the city, secures Oklahoma City’s status as the crossroads of America. It also makes Oklahoma City incredibly easy to navigate. One of the many perks of life in Oklahoma City is that residents don’t spend their free time trapped in traffic going to and from work. In fact, the average

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person spends only 21 minutes commuting one way to work, compared to the national average of 25.9 minutes. A generous network of interstates and free-flowing arteries make it easy to commute from one corner of the metro to another. And Oklahoma City’s streets are made up of a grid system, making navigation a breeze. State and local transportation officials are continuously working to improve the transportation

include funds for adding more bike lanes, building new sidewalks and investing more money in public transit. Traveling by air The key aviation hub of Greater Oklahoma City and its connection to cities across the nation and world is Will Rogers World Airport. But the COVID-19 pandemic has

caused a decline in flights, like the rest of the nation’s airports. Seven air carriers are still helping to get passengers to their destinations as needed. Those carriers are: Alaska, Allegiant, Delta, Frontier,

system and ensure that Oklahoma City’s commute stays congestion-free as the region continues to attract new residents. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s current eight-year construction work plan includes a significant number of key metro-area projects, and the City of Oklahoma City began its largest investment in streets in its history in 2018. In September 2017, Oklahoma City residents approved $1.2 billion in general obligation

Southwest, United and American.

WRWA is a busy hub, serving more than two million passengers in 2019. The airport plans to continue that growth through an $89 million renovation, which is already underway. The renovation will expand the terminal to include up to seven new gates,

An $89 million renovation/expansion project is under way at Will Rogers World Airport.

bond and sales tax funds to make sure Oklahoma City’s transportation infrastructure is growing alongside its population. In addition to the $847 million that will be invested in repairing Oklahoma City’s streets, bridges and improving drainage, the bond and sales tax packages also

new streamlined security, a public observation gallery, increased shopping and dining, and space for future international screening/air service. The project is scheduled to be complete in 2021.

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Public transit The primary provider of public transit in Oklahoma City is EMBARK, which is operated by the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA). EMBARK provides fixed-route and paratransit services in Oklahoma City, including ferry river transit and downtown bike share service. Buses operate every 30 to 60 minutes in a hub-and-spoke system from the downtown transit center, located at NW Fifth Street and N Harvey Avenue. EMBARK has made significant upgrades to its system in recent years, including increased frequency, additional stops and later service. EMBARK’s technology improvements include a mobile trip planner, SMS real-time bus arrival info and on-board WiFi. Because of their commitment to providing the best public transit to residents, EMBARK was named North America’s Outstanding Public Transit System by the American Public Transportation Association in 2016, the highest recognition in the United States. In 2018, Oklahoma City started offering transportation via streetcar in downtown. The 6.8-

mile route is two loops, one that travels north and south in downtown and another loop through Bricktown. The Bricktown loop operates on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One streetcar ride costs $1 and monthly passes are available for $32. For more information about the streetcar, including a route map and stops, visit okcstreetcar. com. The streetcar is just one way the city’s leaders have been looking to expand the transportation options. With Greater Oklahoma City’s population forecasted to grow by almost 500,000 people in the next 20 years, the group acknowledges that passenger rail will be a critical component of that growth. A number of Greater Oklahoma City communities have financially committed to forming a regional transit authority, including Oklahoma City, Edmond, Norman, Moore, Midwest City and Del City. Using a commuter corridor study, the RTA task force is proposing three transit routes to areas experiencing significant growth: Edmond to Downtown Oklahoma City, Downtown Oklahoma City to Norman, and Oklahoma City to Midwest City.

The OKC Streetcar makes it easy to get around downtown, taking riders to places such as Scissortail Park and the Bricktown district.

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The three proposed routes would all meet at the Santa Fe Station Intermodal Hub, which will serve as a connection for the Oklahoma City Streetcar and Oklahoma City’s passenger rail service through Amtrak. Another key component of the RTA task force’s proposed plan is bus rapid transit (BRT). In 2018, Oklahoma City was awarded a $14.3 million federal grant to build a BRT between downtown and northwest Oklahoma City. The line will follow North Classen Boulevard to Northwest Expressway, stopping at Meridian Avenue. The city is providing about $13 million in matching funds. Construction is expected to start in 2021 with operations starting in 2023. Amtrak Service Amtrak’s service via the Heartland Flyer runs a 418-mile round trip between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas, daily. From there, connections can be made to Dallas and San Antonio. The train arrives and leaves from the Santa Fe Station Intermodal Hub and also includes a stop in Norman. There are plans to expand this service north to Wichita, Kansas, which would allow service to Chicago and Los Angeles through Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line.

Amtrak riders can see several towns in south-central Oklahoma on their way to Texas.

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Oklahoma City is the kind of place where you can live large and for less. Oklahoma City residents spend 31.2% less than the national average on housing costs, and Oklahoma City’s growing economy offers you plenty of ways to enjoy your extra savings. Learn more about where to live at ABetterLifeOKC.com/housing. From modern, urban lofts in the heart of downtown to historic homes on tree-lined streets and spacious homes on even more spacious lots, Greater Oklahoma City offers an expansive choice of desirable neighborhoods and a wide range of prices for housing. Compared to other housing markets, you will be pleasantly

surprised at how far your money will go in Oklahoma City’s housing market. The average cost of a single-family home is $136,673 with single-family home prices starting at $72,667 and condominiums and townhomes averaging a price tag of $87,330. Also available are thousands of rental apartments ranging from brand-new luxury complexes to modest, garden style apartments with the average rental price ranging from $550 to $2,000. In Oklahoma City, the average 950-square-foot apartment costs $850 per month, compared to $1,500 in Denver, $2,131 in Chicago, $2,650 in Seattle and $2,800 in Los Angeles.

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In downtown Oklahoma City, the housing market has significantly expanded in the past decade with 4,423 housing units on the market and 693 additional units under construction or in the planning stages. Districts like Deep Deuce, located east of the Central Business District, are a key urban housing center and provide restaurants and retail including a locally owned grocery store in addition to multiple downtown housing options. In Oklahoma City, living in a more suburban or rural atmosphere without sacrificing proximity is attainable. The city’s large land area lends itself to all the best aspects of suburban life, while its low commute times and excellent traffic grid management make it easy to get where you need to be. Oklahoma City’s suburban and pastoral neighborhoods allow you to enjoy a quieter atmosphere just minutes away from the city center. Oklahoma City’s affordability and housing options have garnered national attention, with Oklahoma City racking up the rankings as one of the best cities for first- time homebuyers (SmartAsset), one of the top 10 cities where Millennials are buying homes (Smart Asset), one of the best places to live if you are trying to save money (GOBankingRates.com), one of the most affordable major housing markets (Demographia), and one of the most affordable U.S. cities to rent (Forbes). Get Acquainted with Your New Hometown There’s no better way to get to know your new hometown than by exploring the communities that give it a special flair.

Read on for more about the districts and neighborhoods that you will soon call home, sweet home. Within the city limits there are many distinctive districts that showcase Oklahoma City’s creativity and charm. From museums to murals, each district is part of the unique tapestry of Oklahoma City’s culture. Urban Neighborhoods If living among all the excitement of downtown is your dream, then Oklahoma City has a variety of options for you. In the last several years, as MAPS helped make downtown a destination, more people are wanting to live near the action and the city’s developers have answered the call. One of the most unique areas is the Cottage District, sitting south of St. Anthony’s Hospital. The area only measures a few blocks, but it’s given architects and their clients a place where they can redefine luxury apartments and cottages. Sitting on a hill, the district offers amazing views of the downtown skyline, all while sitting in your living room. If apartments are more your style, hundreds of new units have been built in the last decade. The challenge will be picking where you want to live. Apartments can be found in the historic Deep Deuce neighborhood, the exciting Bricktown district, in the charming Midtown area and even on the developing west side of downtown. Many apartments are within walking distance of breweries for the OKC Streetcar line. Living downtown could mean you don’t have to drive your car for several weeks. Other housing options around downtown include

The Deep Deuce District’s residents can walk to a neighborhood bar or get a drink in nearby Bricktown or the Central Business District.

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condominiums and historic homes. Urban living has become even more popular with the development and ongoing growth of the John Rex Charter School, which will offer eighth grade starting this fall. Historic Neighborhoods Tree-lined streets, charm and character abound in Oklahoma City’s beautiful historic neighborhoods. Some of the homes pre-date statehood, though they’ve since had modern upgrades. Most of the historic neighborhoods surround downtown. One of the first “planned unit developments” west of the Mississippi, Edgemere Park was developed starting in 1926 and consists of Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival and Spanish Eclectic-style homes surrounding a park and creek bed. Closer to the state capitol lies Jefferson Park, filled with small bungalows. But if history and affordability are more your style, check out the Shepherd neighborhood, located a few miles northwest of downtown. The Shepherd Neighborhood is the perfect place to find historic charm on a smaller scale, both in terms of square footage and budget. And for soccer fans, it’s within walking distance of Taft Stadium, where the OKC Energy FC plays its games. Many of the city’s historic neighborhoods have such ornate homes that they’re in Historic Preservation Districts. The neighborhoods that are overseen by the Historic Preservation Commission are Crown Heights, Edgemere Park, Mesta Park and Heritage Hills, Paseo, Putnam Heights and Shepherd. For more information about the Historic Preservation Commission, visit okc.gov/ departments/planning. Suburban Neighborhoods In Oklahoma City, living in the suburbs doesn’t necessarily mean living out of the city. The city’s large land area lends itself to all the best aspects of suburbia, while our low commute times and excellent traffic grid management make getting where you need to go easy. OKC makes it possible to get that suburban feel without feeling far away. The Oklahoma City boundaries also have cities within Oklahoma City, such as Mustang, Bethany, Warr Acres, The Village and Nichols Hills. Each city boasts an array of

housing types, from apartments to large, multi-story homes. In Nichols Hills and The Village, a variety of residences can be found, ranging from ‘30s-platted mansions and ‘50s-built ranch-style to ‘70s-developed subdivisions with larger footage. Situated west of Oklahoma City, near Lake Overholser, Warr Acres and Bethany saw growth after World War II as they developed into bedroom communities for Oklahoma City. Further north, you can find newly-built homes in Northwest Oklahoma City and the west side of Edmond. Some communities are gated and all offer outstanding neighborhood/community involvement. Good highway and turnpike access comes standard, as do excellent public schools. South Oklahoma City boasts more room, more new subdivisions, more new retail, more diversity, more value and more excitement than ever before. Similar to its counterparts in the northwest, newer construction and larger floorplans come standard, as do excellent public schools. Pastoral Neighborhoods If wide open spaces are more your style, Oklahoma City has them. Here, you can still enjoy a quieter atmosphere without sacrificing amenities or distance to the heart of Oklahoma City. If land and a large home are more your style, check out development in the Piedmont or Deer Creek areas. Just outside of the hustle and bustle, the far northwest side offers a definite change of pace at lower commute times than you’d expect. Further west, Mustang and Yukon offer that small-town feel with quick access to downtown. New homes are being built frequently in the area that also offers sought-after public schools. On the metro’s east side, Midwest City, Choctaw and Jones is another option for large plots of land. The area is heavily wooded, creating that “out of the city” feel, but still within a quick drive of downtown. Near Tinker AFB and great outdoor activities, eastern Oklahoma County has lots of room and lots to offer.

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The Greater Oklahoma City region is a well-known hub of entrepreneurship and a land of opportunity for job seekers. After all, the city was built by brave individuals and innovative companies. Many of those original residents came here with little except the determination to make a new start. Risk-taking, a sense of optimism and community cooperation remain hallmarks of Oklahoma’s business climate and community spirit. Read more about the region’s industries at ABetterLifeOKC.com/industries.

For generations, many of the nation’s most-renowned energy entrepreneurs operated out of Oklahoma City. But the city’s major industries have changed over the last several decades because of the ongoing diversification of Greater Oklahoma City’s economy. With Tinker Air Force Base’s presence, businesses in the aviation industry continue to look to Oklahoma City as their next home. The city’s investment in attractions and meeting spaces keeps it on the radar for event

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planners from across the globe. And with the Innovation District and it’s institutions near downtown, Oklahoma City’s biomedical industry is creating healthier futures for everyone. Building upon the strength of the state’s early beginnings, the city’s growing industry sectors include aerospace, professional services, bioscience/healthcare, government, manufacturing, hospitality and retail trade. Aerospace In Greater Oklahoma City, there are more than 236 public and private sector aviation and aerospace firms, 36,600 employees and $4.9 billion produced in goods and services. Recent relocations and significant capital investments by The Boeing Company highlight Oklahoma City’s potential for even more aerospace growth.

Bioscience/ Healthcare

Ground-breaking discoveries made by Oklahoma City-based researchers have helped put Oklahoma City on the map as a contender in the bioscience and technology marketplace. Oklahoma’s bioscience companies boast annual revenues of more than $6.7 billion and support 51,000 workers with total compensation of $2.2 billion. Energy Oklahoma City’s energy industry has developed significantly from its oil- intense beginnings. Oklahoma City is

Oklahoma City’s bioscience industry is creating innovative ways for people to live better lives, such as this technician working on a prosthetic leg.

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Retail Trade A growing economy and a diverse population with disposable income combine in Oklahoma City to create an environment that attracts major retail investment. With a strong corporate presence

leading the new energy landscape with innovative energy companies, such as internationally known GE Global Research, which chose Oklahoma City as the home of its latest $110 million oil and gas technology center (now part of Baker Hughes, a GE company). Hospitality

and residents with strong buying power, Oklahoma City generates 18% of the

Oklahoma City’s increasing status as a visitor destination contributes strongly to this sector’s growing employment and impact on the region. This is the fastest-growing segment of employment with over 73,000 employees in the region. Total travel spending in Oklahoma County alone is $2.4 billion and non- transportation spending in this sector has risen 35% since 2010. Logistics

state’s total sales tax revenue. The metro has also spawned significant retail businesses and is the headquarters of national retailers Hobby Lobby, the largest privately owned arts- and-crafts retailer in the world operating in 47 states; Orange Leaf, one of the fastest- growing private companies in America; and Sonic Drive-In, the largest chain of drive-in restaurants in the United States. The increasingly diversified economy is due largely to the city’s entrepreneurial streak

The city is becoming a popular spot for visitors, creating a demand in hospitality jobs..

There’s a reason the Greater Oklahoma City region is such a great place for logistics: Location. All major trade hubs and more than 411 million residents are within 1,800 miles of Oklahoma City. This makes it easy for businesses to quickly get the materials they need as well as ship out their products to customers.

and a business environment that enables company success. There is a strong partnership among business, government, civic leaders and economic development partners that have led to significant growth and a quality-of-life renaissance unlike any other location in the United States.

Whether locally-owned or a national chain, Oklahoma City has plenty of places to shop.

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Resources for job seekers Has all this talk about OKC’s strengths inspired you to look at your career options here? We don’t blame you. With Oklahoma City consistently boasting one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, you may learn that finding a job here is relatively easy compared to other cities. For full-time employment, the state offers OKJobMatch.com, a website where you can create or upload a resume and search for jobs. The website also allows for Oklahoma employers to search for candidates just like you. A Better Life’s employment resources can help you find your fit in Oklahoma City’s job market. Resources include links to job boards, internship listings, staffing agencies and industry-specific tools. View those and more at ABetterLifeOKC.com/Employment. Resources for entrepreneurs

A common theme in the story of Oklahoma City is its entrepreneurial spirit that has carried it to success throughout its history. That spirit is alive and well today, with Oklahoma City being ranked as the best city in the nation to start a business by many national groups. If you’ve got a great idea and you’re ready to dive into the world of entrepreneurship, then Oklahoma City is for you. Today, Greater Oklahoma City is home to 23,857 small businesses and also boasts business costs that are 17% lower than the national average, a quality that creates a healthy environment for new businesses. Combined with the area’s incentive programs, these factors allow startup businesses not only to survive, but also to thrive. While the process of starting a business can be daunting, Oklahoma City has ample support and resources. Over the last decade, our region has invested millions of dollars in the areas that entrepreneurs need it the most, which are infrastructure, access to capital and support. Greater Oklahoma City has several organizations dedicated specifically to supporting high-tech entrepreneurs and are walking alongside entrepreneurs through the startup process. •i2E is an Oklahoma City-based non-profit dedicated specifically to growing innovative small businesses by helping entrepreneurs, researchers and companies commercialize their technologies and access capital. •Office of Entrepreneurial Development, which provides resources and assistance to entrepreneurs in high-growth sectors. •OCAST (the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology), an agency dedicated to investing in technology transfer and commercialization. •In 2018, the Oklahoma City Thunder partnered with an entrepreneurial startup program, StitchCrew, to begin the Thunder Launchpad. The application process seeks technology-driven entrepreneurs, then the programs help them get their ideas off the ground and ready to be venture-backed. More information

can be found at StitchCrew.com. For more resources, visit GreaterOklahomaCity.com.

More than 50,000 people work in the city’s bioscience industry.

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EDUCATION There are approximately 277,000 students currently

environment. Oklahoma City schools have received national recognition for alternative education, early childhood accessibility and the increasing number of teachers earning National Board Certification – the profession’s top credential. Oklahoma City has also invested $700 million into school construction, transportation and technology projects through the MAPS for Kids program. Around the metro, other school districts around have continued to invest in their facilities as well.

enrolled in public and private Pre-K-12 schools throughout Greater Oklahoma City. Enrollments include approximately 271,000 public school students and an estimated 16,000 students enrolled in private education or homeschooled. More than 50 schools in the region have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools, a program that recognizes schools with academic excellence and a safe, welcoming learning

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For example, Mustang Public Schools will soon open a new performing arts center. In Edmond, the three high schools all have new college-level football stadiums. Districts are constantly tracking their student population and making the necessary adjustments to keep up with growth and technology. Through the dedication of the community, excellent schools can be found in both the

and its visual and performing arts program. It’s one of the top high schools in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 analysis. Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM) One of America’s premier math and science high schools, Oklahoma School of Science and

city’s urban center and in the surrounding suburban areas. For a full list of schools serving the Oklahoma City metro, visit ABetterLifeOKC. com/education. The Oklahoma City metro area is home to public school districts that differ in size and scope, but all are committed to seeing their students succeed after graduation. View a complete list of the 24 public school districts at ABetterLifeOKC.com/ education/public-schools. Oklahoma City Public Schools

Mathematics (OSSM) has been operating for 24 years, during which the school has produced more than 400 National Merit Finalists and over 200 National Merit Commended Scholars. A tuition-free residential high school for juniors and seniors

with exceptional ability in math and science, OSSM has been cited as one of “America’s Best Schools” (Redbook) and deemed “the most rigorous academic program of its kind in the nation” by Dr. Julian Stanley of Johns Hopkins University. Students at OSSM study at least seven academic courses plus fine arts and physical education courses each semester. Students also participate in campus and community service as part of their graduation requirements. OSSM is located on a 32-acre site to the northeast of downtown Oklahoma City, adjacent to the libraries and research resources of the Oklahoma Health Center. OSSM currently has nearly 200 students enrolled. Students from all 77 of Oklahoma’s counties have been selected to attend OSSM. Edmond Public Schools Edmond is a suburb located directly north of Oklahoma City. The district covers 130 square miles, including parts of Oklahoma City and south Logan County. The district has 27 schools total. More than 24,400 students are learning

Oklahoma City Public Schools offers a variety of opportunities for its students, even after school hours. Photo courtesy OKCPS.

Innovation and improvement are the watchwords of the Oklahoma City Public Schools. The district covers 135 square miles and includes 33 neighborhood elementary schools, 13 middle schools, eight high schools, four alternative schools and 17 charter school campuses. With a student population of approximately 45,000, it is the largest school district in the state. Oklahoma City Public Schools also offers specialized learning for students through its career academy program. Areas of focus include entrepreneurship, engineering, law and public safety, finance, health science, information technology, hospitality and tourism, health sciences, fine arts and teacher preparation. Classen School of Advanced Studies, part of the Oklahoma City Public School District, also offers OKCPS students in grades 6 through 12 two distinct areas of study, which are its International Baccalaureate Diploma Program

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at 17 elementary schools, six middle schools and three high schools, as well as one early childhood center. The district’s National Blue Ribbon Schools are Central Middle School, Cheyenne Middle School, Cimarron Middle School, Edmond Memorial High School, Edmond North High School, Edmond Santa Fe High School, Northern Hills Elementary School, Russell Dougherty Elementary School, Sequoyah Middle School and Summit Middle School. EPS offers a robust advanced placement program. In the past several years, more than 100 Edmond Public school Students have been named a National Merit Finalist

or Commended Scholar. Mid-Del Public Schools

The Midwest City-Del City School District is located immediately east of Oklahoma City and serves more than 14,500 students. The district covers 70 square miles and includes 15 elementary schools, five middle schools and three high schools. Moore Public Schools The city of Moore is located directly south of Oklahoma City. Moore Public Schools offer pre-K through 12th grade and has a student population of nearly 24,000, making it the third- largest system in the state. The district includes 25 elementary schools, six junior high schools and three high schools. Leslie R. Fisher Elementary School and Moore West Junior High School are National Blue Ribbon Schools.

There are 24 school districts in the city limits of Oklahoma City.

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Mustang Public Schools While the city is only 12 square miles, the district

that high honor are Coronado Heights Elementary, James L. Dennis Elementary, Putnam City North High School, Wiley Post Elementary and Will Rogers Elementary. Charter schools The number of Charter Schools is growing in Greater Oklahoma City. Charter schools are public schools established by contract with sponsors and often promote a specific curriculum and learning style. Several Greater Oklahoma City school districts are authorized by state law to have charter schools – Choctaw-Nicoma Park, Edmond, Mid-Del, Moore, Mustang, Norman, Oklahoma City and Putnam City. Advanced Science and Technology Education Charter (ASTEC) School In 2000, the Advanced Science and Technology Education Charter (ASTEC) School was Oklahoma’s first start-up charter school. Today, the combined enrollment of the middle school and high school total 750 students. The school educates students in sixth-12th grades. Dove Science Academy Dove Science Academy is a high-performing K-12 public charter school focusing on math, science, engineering

encompasses 69 square miles in the southwest part of the metro. The district has eight elementary schools, three intermediate schools, three middle schools and one high school. It is the 13th largest district in the state, with 11,902 students. The Niche research firm ranked Mustang as the second-best school district in the state for student athletes. Norman Public Schools Located south of Oklahoma City, Norman is the third largest city in Oklahoma and is home to the University of Oklahoma. NPS serves nearly 16,000 students, spread across 17 elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schools and two alternative schools. The district is home to six National Blue Ribbon Schools, which are Lakeview Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Norman High School, Roosevelt Elementary, Truman Elementary and West Mid-High. Putnam City Public Schools The Putnam City Public School district is located in Oklahoma City. Covering 43 square miles, the district serves more than 19,400 students at 18 elementary schools, five middle schools and three high schools and has an overall population of more than 119,000. The district has five National Blue Ribbon Schools. The schools with

In Oklahoma City, students can attend a public or a charter school. Photo courtesy OKCPS

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and computer technologies to provide opportunities for underserved communities. With a college acceptance rate of 100 percent, Dove Science Academy have earned the reputation of providing a distinct, high-quality education. Harding Charter Prep High School Harding Charter Prep works to provide its students with an academically challenging educational experience through an advanced placement curriculum. The school has been named one of the Best High Schools by U.S. News & World Report and was named the second best high school in Oklahoma in 2020. Harding Fine Arts Charter School Harding Fine Arts Academy is a college preparatory high school focused on the integration of arts and academics. In addition to math, English, science and social studies, students also choose from electives including dance, music, theatre or visual arts. The high school is one of the top 10 in the state, according to the 2020 U.S. News and World Report ranking. John Rex Charter School As the first downtown charter school, John Rex offers a divers educational experience with a unique urban flair. The school serves pre-K-8th grade students. The middle school students attend class in the newly-renovated McAlpine Center. Top admission priority is given to students who live within the JRCS boundary, then parents who work within the OKCPS district boundary. Virtual or blended options If the in-class experience is not right for your family, Oklahoma offers several accredited virtual or blended education options. The Epic One-on-One Virtual Charter School is state-accredited and is open to all students residing in the state of Oklahoma. The education program is based on the individual needs and interests of each student. The Oklahoma Virtual Preparatory Academy, a program of Epic Charter Schools, offers a blended

Fall means football season for many athletes in Oklahoma City. Photo courtesy OKCPS

education approach that provides a licensed teacher for every student and opportunities throughout the school year to meet with other students of the program. The Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy also offers a full-time program that includes support from Oklahoma-certified teachers and provides opportunities for concurrent college credit. Private education Oklahoma County is home to 57 private schools educating nearly 13,000 students. About 73 percent of all private schools are religiously affiliated. To view a list of area schools, visit ABetterLifeOKC.com/education/private- schools. Childcare In the Oklahoma City 10-county region, there are more than 1,500 daycare providers with an average weekly cost of $134 for centers and $120 for in-home care. For a list of childcare resources, visit RainbowFleet.org.

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Career and Technology Schools When it comes to career and technology schools, Oklahoma’s system is nationally acclaimed. Greater Oklahoma City’s nine

programs, 75 doctorate programs and 20 majors at the first professional level. OU’s College of Law has been named one of the 15 best law schools in the country by the Thomas M. Cooley Guide. The OU Health Sciences Center in downtown Oklahoma City is Oklahoma’s

largest and most comprehensive

technology systems and 18 campuses not only provide training to high school and post-secondary students, but they also provide invaluable education services to a variety of businesses in a number of different skill areas. Higher Education Greater Oklahoma City is home to 18 colleges and universities. Through these institutions, more than 125,000 students are furthering their education and pursuing thousands of graduate and undergraduate opportunities. Two Division1 universities are located in the Oklahoma City region, both providing their students with a

hospital and home to seven health-related professional colleges. Oklahoma State University, located 66 miles north of Oklahoma City, has been named a Truman Honor Institute as a result of having 15 Truman Scholars. The Carnegie Foundation

classifies OSU as a “High Research

Activity” campus. The Princeton Review also

named OSU one of its “Best Value” colleges. OSU’s

Donald W. Reynolds School of Architecture ranks among the top 20 in the nation. The university also features nationally renowned veterinary, mechanical engineering and other agricultural science

Many of Oklahoma City’s top high schools boast dozens of advanced placement courses.

programs. Other higher education programs located

in the Oklahoma City metro include Oklahoma City University, University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma Christian University, Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, Rose State College, Oklahoma City Community College, and Southern Nazarene University.

world-renowned education. The University of Oklahoma, located 20 miles from downtown Oklahoma City, is a public research university. The Princeton Review ranked OU among the top 10 public universities in the nation in terms of academic excellence and cost for students. The school offers 152 baccalaureate programs, 160 master’s

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Arts & Culture No matter what you’re looking for, Oklahoma City is sure to dazzle you. You can gaze in awe at the world’s largest Chihuly glass tower. Be sure to catch an outdoor concert at one of two parks in the middle of downtown. Don’t forget to explore the treasures of our major museums. And take time to browse the organic creativity flowing from dozens of art galleries and performance venues. With three major arts festivals each year and more than 50 independent galleries showcasing local artists, Oklahoma City’s exuberant art scene

With a spirited environment, unique history and creative drive, Oklahoma City is a place where culture and commerce thrive. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s arts and culture scene thrived online. From sporting events to opera performances, Oklahoma City’s diversity, creativity and its can-do attitude can be seen all around town. Because of numerous closures during the pandemic, be sure to check each attraction’s social media pages or website to see the most up-to-date hours and events. Learn more about what to see and do at ABetterLifeOKC.com/things-to-do.

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Out and About

Oklahoma Contemporary For more than 30 years, Oklahoma Contemporary has been a vital resource for contemporary art experiences of all kinds in the region and those experiences will only increase at the center’s new home. While the building itself is a piece of art, the new Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center continues the organization’s legacy of creating

provides the perfect mix of mainstream and off-beat art encounters. Art can be seen just driving down the road or browsing a neighborhood. The city has become a hub for murals, with some even changing every few months. ACM@UCO The University of Central Oklahoma teamed up with the Academy of Contemporary Music of London to offer a

opportunities for different communities to experience art, encounter new ideas and explore their creative potential. The exhibitions are always free to view and feature work of living artists from around the world. The exhibits challenge the ideas seen in today’s culture. McKnight Center for the Performing Arts This world-class venue on the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater

music education unlike any other in the United States. Students are taught by accomplished musicians, production experts and music business professionals and they receive master class instruction from some of today’s stars from the world of rock, pop, gospel and country music. ACM@ UCO is located in Bricktown, where the streets bear the names of the city’s rock-music legends. Armstrong Auditorium

The city has become a hub for murals, with some even changing every few months.

opened in October 2019 with a performance by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. A season of topnotch events was scheduled this year, the pandemic postponed those activities until fall 2020. Visit mcknightcenter.org to see who will be on stage next. OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center Drive south of Interstate 40 to the Oklahoma City Community College and check out a show at the performing arts center. From country music to acclaimed plays, the VPAC stays booked with a variety of events. Oklahoma City Museum of Art Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art serves more than 135,000 visitors annually and hosts special exhibitions drawn from throughout the world. OKCMOA’s collection covers a period of five centuries, with strengths in American and European art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The museum also includes a comprehensive collection of glass sculpture by Washington-native Dale Chihuly.

Equal parts architectural marvel and performance venue, the Armstrong Auditorium in Edmond is a luxury venue that hosts premier concerts and performing arts, ranging from the Russian National Ballet to classical, jazz or even

bluegrass music, depending on the season. Civic Center Music Hall

This renovated Art Deco concert hall in downtown Oklahoma City has been entertaining residents since 1937, but a major renovation as part of the original MAPS initiative gave it a whole new life. The Civic Center Music Hall hosts a wide variety of performances, including Broadway musicals, ballet, opera and symphony orchestra concerts. The Civic Center staff also programs events at the Hudiburg Events Center in Midwest City. For a taste of local talent, the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Jewel Box Theatre, Painted Sky Opera and the Carpenter Square Theatre all produce a full roster of live performances, ranging from classic musicals to national- debuting scripted dramas. Those performances can be seen at the organization’s own theaters or at the Civic Center.

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