The program is offering cold hard cash, outdoor recreational packages, coworking space, educational opportunities and more to lure professionals in the work-from-home era.
While some companies have transitioned back to the in-person office after months of remote work, other organizations have made long-term commitments to telecommuting. In the age of remote work, telecommuters are no longer tethered to a set location.
Due to this flexibility, a herd of digital nomads could be on the move as remote workers relocate en masse. A number of towns and areas around the globe are looking to attract top talent using myriad incentives such as cold hard cash, sandwich shop perks, free bicycles and more.
On April 12, a “talent attraction program” called Ascend WV launched to draw professionals to the Mountain State. But what’s in the package and who’s eligible?
Cash, coworking space and adventure
Overall, Ascend WV estimates the relocation package touts a value of more than $20,000. This includes $12,000 in cold hard cash which will be paid to remote workers in monthly installments; $10,000 of this is paid over the course of the first year and then a $2,000 bonus of sorts is delivered at the end of the second year of relocation.
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The offer also boasts a “recreation package,” and this includes a “year of free activities” such as “whitewater rafting and downhill skiing,” according to the program website. Additionally, Ascend WV says it will throw in free gear rental “to sweeten the deal.”
Remote workers interested in taking advantage of the relocation offer won’t need to pack the home office, as the package also includes a free coworking space, which the program says is stoked with coffee and features a “gear library” with free bike rentals.
A series of “social programming events” included in the deal will help recently relocated professionals acclimate to their “new home among the hills” with “bike rides and paddleboard yoga to weekend adventures and farm-to-table dinners.” A Country Roads tour, which is described as an outdoor-focused “welcome trip” offers views of local landmarks, “hidden gems” and mingling opportunities.
People who choose to relocate can also take advantage of professional development and entrepreneurial programs at West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics including a Remote Manager or Remote Worker Certification.
In partnership with West Virginia Tourism, Ascend WV is funded by a $25 million “gift from Brad and Alys Smith” which founded the WVU Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative, according to the program website.
“It has always been my dream to give back to the state that forever has my heart. Together, Alys and I set forth a vision to create a program that would allow West Virginia to capitalize on national workforce trends by leveraging the state’s incredible outdoor recreation assets,” said Ascend WV founder and Intuit Chairman Brad D. Smith.
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Cost of living calculator
The Ascend WV website features a cost of living calculator to help people juxtapose their current living costs alongside what they can expect in West Virginia. Listed expenditures include housing costs, average home pricing, outdoor recreation and more.
Current applications and future opportunities
Ascend WV is specifically looking for employed professionals who work remotely full-time outside of the state. The program website says it is only accepting applications for Ascend Morgantown with applications for Ascend Lewisburg and Shepherdstown starting in early 2022.
“West Virginians have been ascending mountains for generations. Now, we’re inviting remote workers from across the country to join us in our ascent to rise to new heights, together,” Smith said. “They’ll quickly discover there’s nothing like the inspiration of the mountains to fuel their pursuits.”
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