Places such as New York, Boston, Washington, DC (all on our list of America’s most expensive cities to live in) and other major cities are popular destinations for young professionals. And for good reason: the best job prospects usually outweigh the high cost of living.
How much would it take smaller, more rural destinations to balance the equation? What if, as a remote worker capable of serving your out-of-state employer remotely, an abundance of open jobs where you live isn’t such a concern? We’ve found nearly a dozen places in the United States, plus one in Canada, that use creative incentives – from down payments on homes to student loan payments and more – to attract and keep residents and workers. Would you take the deal?
- Motivation: Help with the payment of a deposit
Located in north-central Indiana, Grant County is home to 65,936 people in 10 cities. Like many counties in the Midwest, Grant’s population has declined over the past 20 years; to combat this trend, Grant’s Got Talent (formerly known as Grant for Grads) was born.
The program offers $ 2,500 toward the purchase of a home in Grant County. If an employer matches the county’s original $ 2,500, the county will increase its original grant to $ 5,000 for a total of $ 7,500 towards a down payment. Similar to other programs, current residents are not eligible for the grant and applicants must have at least an associate’s degree. They should also apply for the incentive before starting their new full-time gig in the county.
- Motivation: Species
Hamilton, located about 35 miles north of Cincinnati and 40 miles southwest of Dayton, attracts newcomers with its all-cash talent attraction program scholarship. Funded by the Hamilton Community Foundation, the scholarship offers up to $ 10,000 over two and a half years. Similar to the St. Clair County Award (more on Michigan in a moment), preference is given to applicants who have completed a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) degree within the past seven years and are considering to get involved in the Hamilton community. The foundation also designates the areas in which applicants should be prepared to relocate. Applications are reviewed as needed on a monthly or quarterly basis.
- Motivation: Cash rebate for the construction of a new house
In 2014, leaders in the city of about 1,000 people in southern Minnesota, which bills itself as a “great place to visit, an even better place to live,” acknowledged that Harmony had a problem. The owner of one of the community’s largest employers, Harmony Enterprises, told them his new employees with young families complained about the lack of ready-to-move-in homes. That spring, the Harmony Economic Development Authority launched a homebuilding rebate program.
The program offers up to $ 12,000 to those building a new home on vacant land in Harmony. The repayment is tied to the estimated final market value of the new home. Applicants are not limited by income. City officials review the program annually to determine whether it is worth continuing.
- Motivation: Cash for moving and accommodation costs
This city older than New Orleans is in search of new blood. Natchez, Mississippi, recently announced a new incentive program to attract remote workers. The program called Shift South will give eligible workers up to $ 6,000 to relocate to Natchez or Adams County, Mississippi.
Shift South will reimburse up to $ 2,500 in moving expenses and will also offer $ 300 per month over a one-year period for those who wish to move. To be eligible, you must work for a business outside of the region and purchase a home worth at least $ 150,000.
- Motivation: Student loan repayment
Located on the St. Clair River, about two hours from Detroit, St. Clair County draws graduates to its shores with its Community Foundation Scholarship. Dubbed the Come Home Award, the scholarship awards up to $ 15,000 to help pay off student loan debt. To be eligible, an applicant must have completed an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or graduate degree in a STEAM field within the past 10 years, still have student loan debt, and intend to live and to work in St. Clair County. Those who already live in the county or are about to return home on their own are not eligible for the award.
County plans are paying off. According to recent data from the US Census Bureau, St. Clair County had the highest net migration of people with a college education in the state of Michigan, with a gain of 1.6%. Randy Maiers, president of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, reports an increase in the number of applicants from other parts of the United States (thanks to such lists?), Although a strong preference is given to those who have family ties in the region. Applications are accepted year round.
- Incentives: Cash for moving and accommodation costs, co-working space
Home to the acoustic phenomenon known as the “Center of the Universe” and known in the history books to be the former home of Black Wall Street, Tulsa also attracts new talent – but with a slight twist. The city is targeting remote workers through a new program launched in November 2018.
To be eligible for Tulsa Remote, you must be at least 18 years old, self-employed or working full-time remotely outside of Tulsa County, and be able to relocate to Tulsa within six months of approval. If selected, applicants are given $ 11,000 to cover moving and housing costs over the course of a year, as well as a dedicated coworking space in downtown Tulsa to do their jobs.
- Incentives: Student loan repayment, lower taxes
Maybe it’s time to go back to Kansas, Dorothy. Sunflower State, home to about 2.9 million people, attracts college graduates by offering student loan repayments.
The state’s Rural Opportunity Zone program covers 77 counties in the state and offers new residents up to $ 15,000 (spread over five years) in loan repayments. To be eligible, you must have graduated before moving to a ROZ County, have an outstanding loan balance in your name, and more. The program also waives Kansas state income tax, which ranges from 3.1% to 5.7%, for five years.
Among other conditions to obtain the tax exemption, you must have lived outside of Kansas for five years or more before moving to a ROZ County.
- Motivation: Grant of up to $ 15,000 toward the purchase of a new home costing at least $ 200,000 – plus other perks such as car service to and from regional airports during a year, free access to a coworking space, and more
St. Claire County isn’t the only Michigan zip code attracting remote workers. Recently, the Cornerstone Alliance – a regional nonprofit economic development organization – launched its Move to Michigan program to get remote workers to put down roots in one of five zip codes. It is open to non-Michigan residents who will relocate and claim the state as their primary residence while working remotely. The reward: a grant of $ 15,000 for a new home, of which $ 5,000 is repayable after each of your first three years of residence. The program aims to get Chicagoans to cross the Michigan border (the city is 90 miles), but workers from across the United States are welcome to apply. For more information, visit MovetoMichigan.org.
- Motivation: Moving reimbursement for teleworkers
Recently approved, Vermont’s grant program gives remote workers an incentive to take root. The program started accepting applications in January 2019.
The grant pays workers up to $ 5,000 for moving costs. If you receive a grant, it is important to keep documentation. You will need to show how much your move cost in total. You will need to work for a company outside of Vermont and work primarily from a home office or coworking space. The Vermont legislature is already considering extending the award up to $ 7,500 in eligible moving expenses.
- Motivation: Money for relocation, co-working space and other leisure offers
It’s hard to think of West Virginia without singing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” and that’s exactly what the state’s new remote work program is focusing on. Launched earlier this year, Ascend West Virginia aims to draw outdoor enthusiasts to the Highland State to work (remotely, for an out-of-state employer) and play and boost various local economies. The incentive: $ 10,000 during your first year of residency and an additional $ 2,000 at the end of your second year. You’ll also get free skiing and whitewater rafting adventures, a collaborative workspace, and access to social programs to help you meet new people and adjust to your new home.
However, like a similar program in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you cannot relocate anywhere in the state. You need to move to Morgantown, Lewisburg or Shepherdstown. Ascend West Virginia is accepting applications from 50 new Morgantown residents through May 31, 2021 – with more spots coming next year. In 2022, the program will open the application process for Lewisburg and Sheperdstown.
Three other cities in West Virginia already have their own remote work programs. Discover Charleston, Marion and Wheeling.
- Motivation: Non-refundable tax credit for student loans
The province of Saskatchewan, which shares a border with Montana and North Dakota, offers a tax credit to those who wish to settle there from other parts of Canada or other countries.
Worth up to 20,000 Canadian dollars (or just under 15,000 US dollars), the income tax credit is paid over seven years and is linked to the tuition fees that you actually paid for. your undergraduate studies. To be eligible, you must apply within seven years of graduation.