How’s $10,000 sound? All you need to do is move to Vermont.
The picturesque but sparsely populated state made headlines last year when officials OK’d plans to reimburse new residents up to $5,000 each year for two years for moving costs and those associated with working remotely -- computers, Internet access and membership in a co-working space.
The plan to draw younger workers to Vermont has apparently worked. The Remote Worker Grant Program received thousands of inquiries and ran out of its first $125,000 -- which officials anticipated would last through June -- by April, Route Fifty reported.
The state still has another $375,000 set aside for the program, according to the report. Officials decided to eliminate the annual cycles and offer it all to qualifying newcomers on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“It’s a great outcome,” Joan Goldstein, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development, told Route Fifty. “People are moving from metropolitan areas all over the country, and moving into rural areas and small towns, just spreading out throughout the state.”
So what is Vermont getting out of all this? The state’s population is aging, so officials aim to bring in more workers and taxpayers.
To qualify for the program, new Vermont residents must work remotely full time for an out-of-state employer.
People who have taken advantage of the program so far include a lot of software developers, digital designers and financial professionals, according to the report. A book editor and an architect have gotten in, too.
Goldstein told Route Fifty that the state is working on another program to offer incentives to people who move to Vermont to take jobs at businesses there. That program will pay $5,000 for a year, or $7,500 if moving to a rural area, to those who qualify.
“We’re working with businesses now to spread the word about this, so they can use it to attract new employees,” Goldstein said. “The remote worker grant really helped people, so we’re happy to see incentives like this expand.”
Vermont isn’t the only place in the U.S. offering to pay people to move there. Cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Hamilton, Ohio have offered cash for new residents, according to an analysis by Bankrate. Other communities like Lincoln, Kansas and Marne, Iowa have offered free property for new residents to build homes.