Thinking about moving and working remotely? West Virginia is offering up to $12K to move there

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation Now) —  Thinking about moving? West Virginia is offering up $12,000 to remote workers willing to relocate there for at least two years.

The program called Ascend WV was created by the state’s tourism department and by former Intuit CEO Brad Smith and his wife Alys. West Virginia House Delegate Moore Capito, who helped spearhead the program, told Leland Vittert during an “On Balance” appearance Thursday that the goal of the program is to help attract more remote workers from across the country. 

“We intend over the next five years to have 1,000 remote workers in the state of West Virginia.”

The residents who are selected to be in this program are paid over a two-year span. The first $10,000 will be given in monthly installments. The additional $2,000 will be given if they choose to stay for the second year.

The program also offers free outdoor recreation, the chance to attend continuing education programs through West Virginia University, and access to co-working space.

Capito said the program is aimed to retain residents by offering opportunities for them to connect with fellow participants.

“It’s about really building an ecosystem. In the beginning, you get folks that have similar interests, similar ideas, and similar sectors. And all of a sudden, they’re meeting at coffee shops two or three times a week. Then, what springs from that are the seeds that really become startup companies,” Capito said.

Capito said when the program first launched, the state received more than 7,500 applicants for the first round. He said more than 50 people got accepted into that program, which is located in Morgantown.

The state is currently accepting applications for remote workers who want to live in Lewisburg, which is located in the middle of the state in Greenbrier County.

As remote work is seeming to become the norm, Capito says he hopes that Ascend WV will help reverse the state’s declining population, which fell about 3.3% from 2010 to 2020, to about 1.8 million, according to census data.

“We see with a lot of these remote workers, especially in this startup movement … that’s what they’re looking for. They’re looking for outdoor activity, they’re looking for better lifestyle, better quality of living, lower cost of living and we have all of those things to offer.”

Other states including Oklahoma, Arizona, Georgia and Arkansas are also offering remote worker programs to get people to move.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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