Project Boomerang Aims to Bring Former Oklahomans Back to State

Article excerpt

In an effort to bring former Oklahomans back to the state to bolster key industries, the Commerce Department has developed Project Boomerang, one of the first four projects recognized under the Oklahoma Creativity Project.

Finding a way to connect employers with potential returnees - college graduates, working professionals and senior entrepreneurs - is the heart of Boomerang, Commerce Department Strategic Initiatives Deputy Director Sheri Stickley said.

The nonprofit Oklahoma Creativity Project was established shortly after the state celebrated its centennial, as Gov. Brad Henry designated 2008 as the Year of Creativity. Project Executive Director Phil Moss said the agency's goal is to promote a culture of positive change and innovation in the state for the next 100 years. Partners such as the Commerce Department are working toward those goals through ideas such as Boomerang.

The other officially certified Creative Oklahoma Inc. projects so far, dubbed "Great Inspirations," are the Oklahoma Cultural Heritage Trust, which aims to protect many of the state's historic collections; the Documentary Twelve, a DVD movie exploration of teenage addictions; and the second annual Oklahoma City Halloween Parade through Bricktown.

In the case of Boomerang, Stickley said, part of the department's purpose is to attract and develop a highly skilled work force. With a tightening national economy and Oklahoma's aging pool of workers, the department must approach that task with a new attitude appropriate for the Oklahoma Creativity Project.

"We're looking to attract highly skilled professionals with Oklahoma ties back to Oklahoma to fill high-quality, knowledge- based jobs," she said. …