As remote work has replaced the office, there’s far less of a need to reside near your work. As more and more people trade cities (and their high costs of living) for places that are more economically manageable, a number of incentives have started springing up to get people to live anywhere other than New York, DC, or LA.
West Virginia is one of these places, and this year, it’s offering a $10,000 incentive for remote workers to move there, with an additional $2,000 in the second year of residence.
The incentive program is being offered by Ascend West Virginia, the pet project of a couple from Silicon Valley, Brad and Alys Smith, who wanted to invest in their home state.
The cities that are currently offering the relocation program include Shepherdstown and Morgantown, while applications for Lewisburg have already closed. The payments begin the month after your arrival and continue monthly throughout the first year. The remaining $2,000 is paid in the beginning of the second year of residence.
Aside from the cash, there’s also free outdoor recreation in the Western Virginia countryside, free coworking space where you can meet others in the program, and social programming to help you build your community and create a new place for yourself.
In Shepherdstown, you’ll find lots of mountains and history, as well as a thriving cultural scene full of galleries, live music, and performance arts. With plenty of tours to take you through the Revolutionary-era architecture, as well as the whole Potomac to explore with a kayak, this is the perfect place for the outdoor explorer folks to call their own.
A college town, Morgantown is heavy on the school spirit and offers a host of outdoor activities for nature lovers. There’s Cheat Lake, purported to be one of West Virginia’s most beautiful natural features, along with the Wharf District, which offers a wide range of dining establishments. There’s also Coopers Rock State Forest, where hikers can get acquainted with mountaineer country.
In partnership with West Virginia University and the West Virginia Department of Tourism, Ascend West Virginia offers professional development and assistance to those who want to join the program and start their own business in the state. You’ll be connected with professional and entrepreneurial programs, have the opportunity to earn certifications through the John Chambers College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University, or find resources and assistance as you launch your own endeavor.
Meredith Lindemon is a journalist living on the Bay side of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, covering lifestyle and interior design for regional publications.
Photo courtesy of Ascend West Virginia.
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