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Project Boomerang

If there's no place like home, a new project hopes to keep it that way by bringing former Oklahomans back to the state.
Project Boomerang

Project Boomerang

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Oklahoma Project Boomerang

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Show 0847: Project Boomerang

Air date: November 23, 2008



Rob:  The holiday season is a time when many will return to Oklahoma for family gatherings.  And a new project in Oklahoma is designed to influence a growing number of them to stay.  Our Keith Smith has more on the newest way the state is attracting highly skilled workers with Project Boomerang.

Keith:  Adam Clinton may be a part of the state’s future.  But two years ago he was not even in Oklahoma.

Adam Clinton:  I lived in LA, and I used to come home stressed a lot from the traffic, from just some of the daily grind.  And I don’t feel that here.  I don’t know, it was kind of a gradual thing really.

Keith:  After nine years in southern California, Adam picked up and moved back to Norman, the town he grew up in.

Clinton:  Being able to buy a good house, good schools, safe neighborhoods, easy commuting.

Keith:  He’s now part of a new project aimed at talented Oklahomans who have left the state.

Clinton:  Project Boomerang is a project put together by the Department of Commerce to try to increase the number of elsewhere Oklahomans as we call them, people with Oklahoma ties that live out of state.

Keith:  Adam works at Express Employment Professionals, tasked with finding the right jobs, for the right people.

Clinton:  We have contracts with employers around the Oklahoma City area, and they ask me to go out and find the hard to find people.

Keith:  Professionals like Stacey Halfmoon.

Stacey Halfmoon:  I was actually born in Lawton.  There’s an Indian hospital there in Lawton in Comanche County.

Keith:  Stacey spent her childhood in Oklahoma City, her college days at the University of Oklahoma, and worked her way up working for her tribe, the Caddo Nation, developing cultural programs.  Then a call from the Department of Defense, and what would later become an opportunity to serve as the senior tribal liaison in Arlington, Virginia.

Halfmoon:  I was anxious to go and live somewhere else.

Keith:  But as the years went by, Stacey looked back at what she had left behind.

Halfmoon:  I loved how beautiful it was here.  I missed home.  I missed the wonderful people in Oklahoma.  And that’s true; there really is a quality in the people here, very friendly and open.

Keith:  For her own family and friends, and an extensive extended family.

Halfmoon:  Having 39 tribes in the State of Oklahoma, you just don’t find that anywhere else.

Keith:  Stacey serves as a director at the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City.

Halfmoon:  Look into the job market and see what may be here.  I think people would be pleasantly surprised.

Adam Clinton:  We have one of the most stable economies in the country.  We were rated the most recession proof city in the country by FORBES Magazine, and that’s a big selling point.

Halfmoon:  There’s no place like home, not to sound too cliché there, but it’s true.

Clinton:  Would I leave?  Oklahoma?  No, never.

Keith:  A place not only to live, but to live well.

Clinton:  My kids can go to public school here.  And they’re very good, award-winning public schools.  And it just takes a lot of the stress off.

Keith:  Familiar faces, but a state different from the one he once left behind.

Clinton:  Economically speaking, I know that there have been some downturns nationally, and even internationally.  But we haven’t been as affected by that as a lot of people have.  And I don’t see any reason why this won’t continue to gain momentum.

Keith:  Right at home; in Oklahoma.