July 5, 2024

Biden-Harris Administration Awards $51M To Tulsa Hub, Boosting Black Tech Street And Indigenous Collaboration

Black wall street

The Biden-Harris administration and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) have granted $51 million to the Tulsa Hub for Equitable and Trustworthy Autonomy (THETA). 

Led by Tulsa Innovation Labs, the initiative aims to enhance the region’s capabilities in autonomous systems through advanced manufacturing and technology deployment.

Tulsa’s Legacy of Innovation

Tulsa is one of 12 regions awarded funding from the 31 designated “Tech Hubs” last fall. 

This federal investment leverages Tulsa’s strong history in aerospace and manufacturing to push U.S. leadership inequitable and trustworthy autonomous systems. 

The city’s focus areas include uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS), autonomous vehicles, drones, and robotics, which have applications in agriculture, pipeline inspections, and regional transportation.

“With a legacy shaped by aerospace and manufacturing, Tulsa is pioneering the future of innovation,” said Jennifer Hankins, Managing Director of Tulsa Innovation Labs, in a press release.

Collaborating with Osage Nation, Cherokee Nation, and Black Tech Street, Tulsa is set to develop these technologies, ensuring security and widespread job accessibility.

Economic Impact and Job Creation

The EDA’s Tech Hubs funding positions the Greater Tulsa Region to tap into the $1.36 trillion global autonomous systems market, potentially creating up to 56,000 new jobs over the next decade. 

These advancements are important for U.S. economic competitiveness and national security, facilitating innovations that could protect soldiers or deliver medicine to rural areas.

Tulsa will utilize this award to support six key projects:

  1. Enhancing commercialization strategies among universities and startups.
  2. Establishing a state-of-the-art testing and simulation environment.
  3. Integrating manufacturers into autonomous systems supply chains.
  4. Creating an AI Center of Excellence to expand tech opportunities for underserved communities.
  5. Expanding workforce programs to align with industry needs.
  6. Setting up governance structures to drive the Tech Hub’s strategy and secure additional funding.

“We’re always excited to see a project like THETA that improves the regional economy and supports Cherokee Nation Businesses,” said Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses.

Feature Image Credit: Next City

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.