Forward OKC

Forward Oklahoma City was established to create quality jobs, increase capital investment, retain existing business and improve per capita income. Through four five-year cycles, this dynamic economic development effort has produced results far exceeding expectations, repositioning Oklahoma City as one of the top economic development site locations in the country.

The first of the five-year economic development programs was created to expand Oklahoma City's economy and increase employment, investment and income.

Forward Oklahoma City II built on the success of Forward Oklahoma City I. Accomplishments of FOKC II included leading the effort to pass Right-to-Work and MAPS for Kids; attracting Quad/ Graphics, the second largest provider of print, digital and related services in North America; and siting Dell, Inc., on the Oklahoma River.

The Forward Oklahoma City III initiative centered on four key components - position, place, people and projects - all of which focused on a vibrant business environment, positively raising Greater Oklahoma City's national and international image and positioning the region for growing, expanding and attracting high-quality jobs. This cycle also included the Big League City and MAPS3 campaigns.

Forward Oklahoma City IV recognized that national and global economic development has changed and addressed four major areas of focus accordingly. The intent of the program was to grow Oklahoma City companies and industries, maximize Oklahoma City’s competitive advantage, market to attract new companies and investment and seize Oklahoma City’s opportunities.

Forward Oklahoma City V focused on diversifying the economy with emphasis on cluster development and entrepreneurship, growing a quality workforce by advocating for better results in public education and enhancing and growing talent, improving the area’s quality of life, growing corporate presence, improving Oklahoma City’s reputation and more.

Forward Oklahoma City VI, which will run from 2021 until 2025, selected its programming with the understanding that Oklahoma City must adapt in order to continue its momentum. With programing that focuses on redefining education, aligning our talent resources with the region’s needs, and continuing to reinvent Oklahoma City’s image and reputation, the next iteration of Forward OKC will ensure our long-term success.

See Forward OKC VI's lead investors. 

The Forward Oklahoma City programs have had a major impact on Greater Oklahoma City's economic growth and prosperity. Woven throughout these campaigns is a focus on advocacy in areas that are critical to helping advance the city's momentum.

The 25-year transformation of Oklahoma City

Since 1995, when the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber launched its first Forward OKC campaign, the Greater Oklahoma City region has:

  • Increased its labor force (ages 16 and older) by more than 30%.
  • Added 380,000 people to its population.
  • Grown its annual average wage by 111%.
  • Added more than 121,500 jobs to its goods-producing and service-providing industries.
  • Grown its bank deposits from FDIC-insured institutions in the Oklahoma City metro area by $24.3 billion, from $9.6
    billion in 1995 to $33.9 billion in 2019.
  • Supported implementation of the original MAPS projects, including a six-month extension of the one-cent sales tax
  • Increased impact of Tinker Air Force Base through additional jobs, contracts and investment
  • Initiated significant criminal justice reforms that led to a decrease in the population at the once over-crowded Oklahoma County Jail
  • Led efforts to pass Maps for Kids, Right to Work, Hotel/Motel Tax increase, Save Tinker Bond Issue, G.O. Bond, Tort Reform and Workers Compensation Reform
  • Created a 10-county Regional Partnership for Economic Development
  • Supported pro-business programs such as the Research Institute for Economic Development (RIED) and the Prosperity Project
  • Developed a dynamic bioscience strategy that has assisted with growing the Oklahoma Health Center and startup companies in life sciences
  • Led campaigns that brought the NBA to OKC (Big League City), created an unprecedented public-private partnership opportunity at the Tinker Aerospace Complex (GM Plant Bond Issue), and MAPS 3
  • Championed the improvement of education facilities for public school students in the Greater Oklahoma City area through the $700 million MAPS for Kids campaign and provides ongoing support for quality education initiatives
  • Launched the Greater Grads program as a strategy to attract and retain a young, talented workforce


For more information, or to get involved in Forward Oklahoma City, please contact Jeff Seymour, executive vice president of economic development, at 405-297-8991.