Cities across the U.S. are launching “talent incentive” programs that provide remote workers with cash simply to move to their area for a year or more.
As many city dwellers migrate to areas with more space and a lower cost of living, policymakers are jumping at the opportunity to bring in new residents and boost their city’s economy.
For instance, Tulsa Remote was actually created in 2018 before remote working became a mainstay for millions of workers. The program provides workers with $10,000 grants, as well as activities and events to help participants integrate into the local community.
“That integration component is one of the most important aspects to get right. If you just set up a talent program in a vacuum without having a community that’s vibrant and inclusive around it, it just doesn’t work,” said Ben Stewart, executive director at Tulsa Remote. “You have to make people feel good about their relocation immediately and get them connected in a neighborhood.”
Pew Research Center found that 1 in 20 Americans had moved due to the pandemic, which has led to a boom in “Zoom towns” that remote workers have flocked to.
These programs are powered by the belief that remote working is not going anywhere, and this could lead smaller towns and suburbs to become technology and cultural hubs.
For Bob Ross, senior VP of marketing at the Greater Topeka Partnership, each of the $10,000 provided to workers who participate in the city’s “Choose Topeka” program aims to generate $50,000 of economic growth in one year.