Post-coronavirus, Georgia city paying tech workers to move there

Business leaders want Savannah to become a remote tech hub

Here’s an incentive for remote tech workers to move to the Peach State.

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Georgia is calling for all qualified technology workers to relocate to Savannah or the Chatham County area, the Savannah Economic Development Authority, an organization that creates jobs and supports businesses Georgia’s Chatham County, announced Tuesday.  The workers can get paid up to $2,000 in moving expenses if they do.

Sunrise in Savannah, Georgia. (iStock).

The offering is part of the SEDA’s effort to boost the region’s tech industry. Interested applicants must have at least three years of verifiable experience and have to relocate to Chatham County with a minimum of a one-year lease or purchase property and live in the county for at least a month before applying for the funds. The money would cover expenses like moving service charges, vehicle rentals, utility deposits and gas.

Some tech workers have decided to make the move in recent years for a more affordable cost of living and greater job prospects. Just ask Gwendolyn Dipert, 32, a product manager for Zift Solutions, a web-based marketing platform, based out of Raleigh, N.C. Dipert was originally working outside of her company's New York City office, but decided to move south for more affordable living costs.

“I got sick of living like I was still in college with three other roommates," Dipert told FOX Business, explaining: "I wasn’t saving, I didn’t have an opportunity to invest in myself and education. I couldn’t really save up to buy anything. It felt like I wasn’t growing; I was stunted," Dipert said.

More people working in the tech industry are considering a move to Savannah for a more affordable cost of living. (Savannah Economic Development Authority).

And since her job allows her to work remotely, her company let her make the move to Savannah where she was able to rent a two-bedroom apartment for $1,200. To compare, her rent in New York was $800 for a split four-bedroom apartment she shared with three other people.

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Savannah beats out cities like Atlanta, Minneapolis, Nashville and Los Angeles for having the lowest cost of living making it an attractive move for any industry, but particularly for people in tech who have more of a capability to work remotely.

There's been a 25 percent increase in moves from New York to Georgia since the COVID-19 crisis hit, according to Dumbo Moving + Storage. (Savannah Economic Development Authority). 

And a number of people from the New York area, an epicenter for the coronavirus, have made the move south in the past two months as more offices allow employees to work remotely.

Lior Rachmany, CEO of Brooklyn-based Dumbo Moving + Storage, told FOX Business he's seen an increase in moves to southern states since COVID-19. There's been a 25 percent increase in moves to Georgia since last year at this time, and a move to Savanah can cost at least $1,500 on average.

What's more, there's been a 10 percent increase in moves to Alabama; 15 percent increase in people relocating to South Carolina and as much as a 30 percent increase in moves to Florida, Rachmany confirmed.

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The city of Savannah has done its part to help bolster employment opportunities for people working in the tech sector faced with unemployment resulting from coronavirus-related shutdowns. Savannah Tech implemented a job training program last month for those displaced from their job and looking for new skills.