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Now that we know remote work is here to stay, we can consider just how remote we’d like to be. The race is on to attract talent from around the country, and some cities and states are taking it seriously. Workers who can literally work from anywhere are usually educated, well-paid, and highly skilled. They make attractive new residents and taxpayers for many states, and several have offered incentives for relocation.
Now, West Virginia wants to pay remote workers $12,000 to consider this state home.
On April 12, Governor Jim Justice announced a program, Ascend WV, that “will allow adventurers to enjoy world-class recreation, uncrowded spaces, and a low cost of living while staying fully connected to their jobs.”
Here’s the pitch, according to the Ascend WV site:
“As if life in West Virginia isn’t prize enough, we’ll actually pay you $12,000 to move here. No strings attached. Over the course of the first year in your new mountain town, you’ll receive $10,000. That’s right. You’ll get $10-grand just for moving here. When you fall in love with Almost Heaven (and we’re sure you will) you’ll receive an additional $2,000 for your second year in West Virginia. Whether you put this $12,000 towards a new car for scenic drives down our country roads or a new mountain bike, it’s totally up to you. It’s true what they say: Money goes further in the mountains.”
The incentive package also includes a year’s worth of free outdoor recreation, bringing the total value to $20,000, the website said. That includes a year of access to activities such as whitewater rafting and downhill skiing, as well as two years of free outdoor gear rentals, such as camping gear or paddleboarding equipment.
Applicants must be 18 or older with a full-time remote job at a company located outside of West Virginia.
The state is very interested in bringing home some of the talent that left for greener pastures and high-paying opportunities, but they’d also like to show the country that you don’t have to live in crowded urban environments to have a great lifestyle. Known for its natural beauty, West Virginia offers what many people travel on vacation to access: miles and miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, white water rafting, and clean mountain air.
Cities like Morgantown, Shepherdstown and Lewisburg will also offer program participants access to free coworking space in the heart of the city so workers and entrepreneurs can connect and collaborate. Morgantown is a thriving college town, home to West Virginia University and offers easy access to Pittsburgh, Washington DC and Baltimore.
Each featured city site offers information on the recreational, cultural, and foodie scenes, and it looks like they’ve set up ambassador programs to welcome newcomers and get them involved. If your health is a priority, you’ll be interested to know that West Virginia has become a national leader on vaccination, boasting one of the highest rates in the world. It’s partly due to that small town community culture, where local pharmacies are providing most of the vaccines to a clientele that knows and trusts them.
“A slower pace. A sense of adventure. And community camaraderie that makes you feel at home the moment you arrive. Does heaven exist? We like to think so.”
If that kind of lifestyle sounds appealing, you might think about calling it home. But hurry. The Morgantown application window closes at the end of May.