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US States, Cities Offering Big Incentives to Attract Remote Workers and New Residents

Dr. Tausif Malik

Due to COVID-19 pandemic and post pandemic, remote work has become more than just a temporary necessity; it’s now a fundamental shift in how we view employment and living arrangements. With the freedom to work from anywhere, individuals and families are reconsidering where they call home, seeking not just affordability but also quality of life and community connection.

This transformation has not gone unnoticed by cities and states across the United States. In a bid to attract new residents and bolster local economies, many municipalities are rolling out innovative incentive programs designed to entice remote workers and professionals to relocate. From cash grants to tax rebates, these initiatives are reshaping the landscape of urban and rural areas alike, offering opportunities for both individuals seeking a change of scenery and cities eager to thrive in the new era of remote work.

The landscape of where people live is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the rise of remote work and the pursuit of affordable housing options. Cities across the United States are taking notice and are rolling out enticing incentives to attract new residents and remote workers, reshaping the demographic landscape.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most compelling incentive programs being offered by cities across the country, highlighting the benefits for both newcomers and the communities welcoming them. From the picturesque landscapes of Alaska to the vibrant urban centers of the Midwest, these initiatives represent a growing trend in urban planning and economic development, where cities are competing not just for businesses, but for the people who power them. (States listed in alphabetical order)

Image: Shoals Economic Development Authority

Alabama: The Shoals

Located in northwest Alabama, The Shoals, encompassing the cities of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia, offers qualified workers up to $10,000 through its Remote Shoals program. With over 2,300 applications received since its launch, the initiative aims to attract talent and boost economic growth in the region. Eligible applicants must be self-employed or a full-time remote employee outside Colbert and Lauderdale counties, make $52,000 or more annually, and relocate to the Shoals area within six months of being selected.

Alaska: Ketchikan

Nestled in southeastern Alaska, Ketchikan provides newcomers with three months of free high-speed internet and offers a yearly sum through its Permanent Fund Dividend program. The city’s scenic coastal location and remote-friendly incentives make it an attractive destination for those seeking a change of scenery. Applicants over 18 must be “fully employed.” The individual or family must live outside Alaska while working remotely for a company that is also outside Alaska.

Alaska: Statewide Program

Alaska provides residents with a yearly sum through its Permanent Fund Dividend program, aimed at supporting residents and attracting new talent.

Image TucsonTopia

Arizona: Tucson

Situated in southern Arizona, Tucson offers relocators a $1,500 grant toward moving costs, along with other benefits, to attract remote workers to the area. The program aims to position Tucson as a hub for remote work and innovation. The University of Arizona campus is located in Tucson, the second-largest city in the state.

Image: Wikicommons

Georgia: Savannah

Savannah, Georgia, offers up to $2,000 in reimbursement for moving fees to remote workers who have already lived in Chatham County for one month. The program aims to attract tech talent to the city and foster innovation and growth. Savannah, Georgia, rolled out a program called the Savannah Technology Workforce Incentive amid the pandemic. Savannah’s digital innovation extends to health care, as well, as more than 200 health care technology companies, including Savannah’s OXOS Medical C, Candor and Corstrata, are located in Georgia.

The Savannah Economic Development Authority also offers several other corporate incentives in addition to state incentives. The Facility Rental Assistance Grant is a cash grant of up to $12,000 toward office rental for technology firms that create a minimum of 10 new positions. Further, the High Wage Job Creation Grant is a cash grant of up to $20,000 for every five high-technology jobs created.

Illinois: Quincy

Located on the western border of Illinois, Quincy offers property tax rebates of up to $5,000 for new residents who secure employment within the county. The program aims to incentivize relocation and strengthen the local workforce. Quincy, Illinois, a town of 40,000 on the Missouri border, has also launched a program to incentivize Americans to relocate there.

The Quincy Workforce Relocation Assistance Program (Q-WRAP) is a property tax rebate/lease rebate incentive aimed to make the talent attraction and workforce recruitment efforts more competitive. Q-WRAP provides a rebate of up to $5,000 on property taxes (first year property tax bill only) or a rebate of up to $3,500 on rent/lease payments (after their first full year residing in Quincy). The city of Quincy will invest a portion of the revenue from the 1% food/beverage tax it collects into Q-WRAP.

Image: Governing.com

Indiana: Greensburg and West Lafayette

West Lafayette, Indiana, situated near Purdue University, offers remote workers a stipend of up to $5,000 to live near campus. Meanwhile, Greensburg, Indiana, provides a range of incentives, including cash grants and creative childcare programs, to potential movers. Greensburg’s “Grandparents on Demand” program pairs newcomers with local senior citizens who can provide babysitting services and even act as a stand-in at students’ Grandparent’s Day free of charge.

Purdue offers the same type of benefits to remote workers seeking a change of place. Like the corporate campuses they inspired, universities were designed to nurture their residents both on and off the clock, and Purdue, consistently ranked in the top 10 most innovative colleges in the nation, is the only university to engineer such a future-focused live and work lifestyle for people working remotely.

Image: Wikicommons

Iowa: Manilla and Newton

Newton, Iowa, offers cash incentives and tax abatements to homebuyers who purchase properties in the city, while Manilla, Iowa, provides free lots of land to anyone looking to build a single-family home.

For homes valued at $240,000 or more, homebuyers will receive a $10,000 cash incentive and the “Get to Know Newton Welcome Package.”

These initiatives aim to attract new residents and stimulate economic development. Newton, Iowa, is about 30 miles east of Des Moines and wants to give relocators who purchase a home there cash upon closing.

Image: LiveinLicolnCounty.com

Kansas: Lincoln

In Lincoln, Kansas, relocators can nab free residential plots of land just outside of the city’s downtown if they agree to certain design guidelines. The city will grant the deed to people who agree to build a home on the lot, as long as they meet certain design guidelines. The applicant must provide a deposit of 8 cents per square foot, though the money is refunded upon the completion of the home. Lincoln has a deep culture of history with museums like the Post Rock Scout Museum and the Lincoln Historical Museum.

The Make My Move program aims to attract five remote workers to Lincoln County within 24 months using $5,000 relocation grants as part of a complete package that highlights our local quality of life, recreational opportunities, small-town safety, and neighborly character. Remote workers can check out the opportunities in Lincoln County at www.makemymove.com.

Map of New New England

Maine and Vermont

Maine’s Opportunity Maine Tax Credit program assists with student loan payments for college graduates who settle in the state, while Vermont is offering grants of up to $7,500 to those willing to relocate and seek employment in high-demand fields. These statewide initiatives aim to attract talent and revitalize local communities. Maine is luring remote workers by offering to help pay student loans for relocators through its Opportunity Maine Tax Credit program.

To build upon the success of previous efforts, the Vermont Legislature passed new legislation in 2022 allocating $3.09 million to create a new iteration of the program. The Worker Relocation Incentive Program is now live and accepting applications from those looking to move to the state, whether to work remotely or take a job with a Vermont company. These grants are awarded on a first come, first served basis, and completing a valid application does not guarantee a grant.  These are reimbursement grants and proof of moving expenses is required.

Maryland: Baltimore

Baltimore’s “Buying Into Baltimore” program is easing upfront costs for prospective homebuyers with a $5,000 assistance package. The program aims to reduce barriers to homeownership and attract new residents to the city. Buying Into Baltimore is a program that will award $5,000 in down-payment and closing-cost assistance to a few lucky prospective homebuyers that enter a lottery after attending a special Trolley Tour that is held three times a year.

Michigan: Southwest Michigan

Southwest Michigan offers remote workers $15,000 toward a down payment on a home, along with other perks, to encourage relocation to the region. The program aims to attract talent and boost economic development in the area. The first round of the program — called Move to Michigan — is already full.

The state provides $10,000 towards your mortgage, with the amount rising to $15,000 if you plan on enrolling your child in a public school within two years of arrival.

The money is presented to your lender at closing then gradually forgiven after each year of residency ($5,000 the first year, $2,500 the second year, $1,250 the third year, etc. 

Minnesota: Bemidji and Harmony

Bemidji, Minnesota, provides remote workers with six months of free internet service, coworking space memberships, and access to community programs. To qualify, movers must work primarily from home and be relocating from at least 60 miles away. Harmony, Minnesota, offers workers who move to the city up to $12,000 in cash rebates towards a new home. The town is granting a minimum of $2,000 for you to build a new home or remodel a neglected one.

The Greater Bemidji 218 Relocation Grant Program has designed a Relocation Incentive Package to entice professionals who telecommute and are considering relocating to the Bemidji area to embrace their lifestyle and make the move.

Eligible telecommuters will receive up to $2,500 in reimbursed moving expenses and/or qualifying telecommuter expenses not already covered by their employer, including Gigabit internet service, which is widely available throughout Beltrami County.

Additionally, recipients will enjoy a one-year membership to the LaunchPad co-working space in the historic Mayflower Building, valued at $1,500, and complimentary access to the Community Concierge Program, facilitating connections to the community. Further support and tools for teleworking will be provided through Effective Remote Work, offered by Justin DiRose.

Mississippi: Natchez

Natchez, Mississippi, is luring remote workers with cash upfront plus more money each month for a year. Natchez, Mississippi is a historic city full of antebellum mansions on the banks of the Mississippi River, right on the border with Louisiana. Its history spans from the indigenous Native American tribe that gave Natchez its name to French colonists who built a bustling trade port. Natchez has an incentive program, Shift South, that awards up to $6,000 to eligible workers to offset relocation expenses.

The program is specifically targeting “remote workers to relocate to Natchez to enjoy a lower cost of living.” People who apply must show work with an employer outside of Natchez. Benefits include a $2,500 payment for relocators, followed by $300 per month for one year.

The program does require recipients purchase a home valued at $150,000 or more in order to be eligible. “We are excited to be the first and only city in the Deep South to offer an incentive package like this to remote workers,” Natchez mayor Dan Gibson said. “In this new day, where so many people are able to work from home, we can think of no better place than Natchez.”

Ohio: Hamilton

Hamilton, Ohio, a city of 63,000 about 20 miles north of Cincinnati, is offering recent college graduates up to $15,000 in student loan repayment assistance if they buy a home in the city. The city, which has a median home value of about $92,000, is hoping to attract recent graduates who might otherwise move to larger cities.

The incentive program is part of a broader effort to revitalize Hamilton’s downtown area and attract new residents to the city.

Pennsylvania: Harmony

Harmony, Pennsylvania, is offering $2,500 to individuals who buy a home in the town, as well as $5,000 to those who build a new home. The program aims to attract new residents to the town, which has a population of about 900 people. Harmony, Pennsylvania, is a small town located about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Texas: Tulsa

Tulsa, Texas, has launched the Tulsa Remote program, offering $10,000 in cash upfront, along with a host of other benefits, to remote workers who relocate to the city. The program aims to attract talented individuals to Tulsa and boost the city’s economy.

Tulsa Remote is a program that offers remote workers $10,000 in cash, a housing stipend, and other benefits to relocate to Tulsa. The program aims to attract talented individuals to the city and boost its economy.

Washington: Spokane

Spokane, Washington, offers newcomers $5,000 to buy a home in certain neighborhoods, along with additional incentives such as discounts on building permits. The program aims to attract new residents to the city and revitalize certain neighborhoods. Spokane is a city in eastern Washington located about 20 miles from the Idaho border.

Wisconsin: Dane County

Dane County, Wisconsin, is offering up to $7,000 in relocation incentives to remote workers who move to the area. The program aims to attract talented individuals to Dane County and boost the local economy. Dane County is located in southern Wisconsin and includes the city of Madison, the state’s capital.

These initiatives represent a growing trend among cities and states across the United States to leverage incentives and attract remote workers and new residents, shaping the future of where and how people live and work.

About the Author

Dr. Tausif Malik is a dynamic social entrepreneur, publisher, and academician, renowned for his innovative ventures. He founded and publishes The Desi Buzz, GCC Startup News, Startup Berita, and Halal Biz News, amplifying entrepreneurship globally. Dr. Malik also spearheads AIMBSN, Halal Angels Network, and Startup Villages, fostering startup ecosystems. His groundbreaking initiative, RiseBack.org, offers affordable edtech solutions, providing Indian university programs starting at $50 per month and professional IT courses priced at $250-$350. Through his diverse endeavors, Dr. Malik empowers individuals with access to education and opportunities.

Dr. Tausif Malik
Dr. Tausif Malik, a serial entrepreneur, academician, publisher, and editor, founder behind The Desi Buzz, GCCStartup.News, and StartupBerita.com. Notably, he is the driving force behind RiseBack.org, the world's first Affordable Education Platform (Edtech). RiseBack.org is dedicated to fostering accessible University degrees (Undergraduate & Graduate/Masters) with starting fees as low as $60 per month, collaborating with accredited Indian Universities. Dr. Tausif Malik is a firm advocate of empowerment through education and fostering development through entrepreneurship.
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