Make the Move
Remote work may become a permanent feature for many companies and employees. While it has its drawbacks, working remotely frees employees from having to remain in high-priced, overcrowded neighborhoods and opens up the option of moving to cities that have a lower cost of living or are closer to family. Cities, counties, and even entire states are jumping at the chance to attract members of this new mobile workforce. The offerings include inducements like flights to Hawaii, a temporary break from income taxes, or cash incentives up to $10,000. Most come with a few requirements, such as already having a remote job and committing to spending one or two years in the area. But some of these programs have fewer requirements and are available to both remote and traditional office workers. If you’re up for a change, take a spin through this list of cities that are eager for new residents, and see if any strike your fancy!
The Tulsa Remote program offers remote workers willing to relocate to the Sooner State some serious perks, starting with $10,000, to be paid out over the first year. For many people, the influx of cash alone can make a big difference, particularly if they’re still recovering from Covid-related setbacks. But cash isn’t the only incentive Tulsa’s offering. The city also includes a free shared work space, access to exclusive events, and a welcoming committee to introduce new move-ins to life in Tulsa. There’s an application process and a short list of criteria to qualify for the program, but it’s a great deal if moving to O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A appeals to you.
The Northwest Arkansas Council created the Life Works Here initiative, sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation, to attract top remote talent. Successful applicants receive $10,000 to offset the costs of relocating, plus a street bike or mountain bike to help new residents join in on the Arkansas outdoor living scene. For those less inclined to pedal through town, as an alternative, move-ins can choose an annual membership to a local museum or other cultural institution.
Remote workers in need of a little sunshine might want to apply for the Remote Tucson program. Arizona’s second-largest city entices remote workers with $1,500 cash toward moving costs as well as a long list of other perks, including limited-time access to a coworking space, free internet, and employment help for a spouse or significant other. In total, applicants can access up to $7,500 worth of benefits, though not all of these involve cash.
Related: 18 Hidden Costs of Moving
There’s no place like home, especially when that home can come with up to $10,000 worth of incentives to help cover the costs of renting or buying a new place in the first year. The Choose Topeka program isn’t just for remote workers. The incentives are slightly different for traditional office employees, but both remote and in-person workers can qualify for big incentives to move to America’s heartland.
The Shoals, Alabama
The Shoals area in Alabama includes the cities of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia, which are all located relatively close to major cities like Nashville, Atlanta, and Memphis. The Remote Shoals program offers $10,000 to successful applicants, but that sum doesn’t arrive all at once. Participants receive 25 percent up front to cover moving expenses, 25 percent after the first six months, and the remaining 50 percent after the first year.
Utah doesn’t limit remote incentives to a single city or county. The state runs a Rural Online Initiative (ROI) that offers free remote education opportunities for those transitioning to remote work. It’s an inexpensive way to develop new skills in a job market that is relying more and more on remote work and will probably continue to do so in the future. The program is run through Utah State University, with several locations around the state.
Select Kansas Counties
The Kansas Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZ) program offers unique relocation inducements in many Kansas cities. The incentives, which vary by county, include income tax waivers for up to five years or $15,000 worth of student loan payments over five years (or both!). To be eligible, candidates must live outside the ROZ area upon application and be willing to move once accepted. Because the whole point of the program is to attract educated professionals to rural areas, applicants must also have completed their degree.
Manilla, Iowa, takes a different approach to attracting workers, remote and otherwise. The Manilla Economic Development Corporation offers free lots along with a five-year, 100 percent tax abatement. Hookups to local utilities are free, and of course, successful applicants have to build a single-family residence on the lot.
You wouldn’t think Hawaii would need much help luring workers of any type. That said, the island of Hawaii offers a Movers & Shakas Deal to help remote workers relocate to the island. Former Hawaii residents are encouraged to apply, but anyone willing to relocate can potentially be accepted. Instead of cash, these deals offer incentives like discounted airfare, hotel stays, and access to coworking spaces. Plans are in the works to extend the program to other islands in the near future.
This Newton, Iowa, housing initiative isn’t limited to remote workers. But if you’re working remotely and want to cut your living expenses, Newton might be a great place to do it. The initiative offers $5,000 to $10,000 in cash incentives for purchasing a home, and because your dollars stretch further in this rural setting, you’ll probably settle into your new home with a wad of cash in your pocket.
Any recent (within seven years) STEAM graduates looking to relocate? Hamilton, Ohio, offers a Talent Attraction Program Scholarship to lure educated professionals to the area. Successful applicants receive $10,000, paid in $300 monthly installments, to be applied toward student loans. The scholarships typically go to those who show an inclination for community involvement.
With its famed Southern charm, you wouldn’t think that Savannah, Georgia, would need to offer incentives to catch the interest of remote workers. But the Savannah Economic Development Authority is doing just that, in the hope of attracting tech workers—remote, self-employed, or traditional—through its Creative Technologies Incentives. The program offers up to $2,000 in reimbursement for moving expenses for qualified applicants who relocate to the city. Among the eligibility requirements, candidates must have at least three years of experience working in a tech field, must have relocated to Chatham County and obtained either a one-year lease or purchased property, and must have lived in the area for at least 30 days before applying.
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