Take me home, country roads… West Virginia is one of the most beautiful states in the country with a great cost of living in many areas (94.88% lower than the rest of the US) of the state if you like to get out in the country. Now, West Virginia is paying $12,000 to move there, should you meet the requirements of their Remote Worker Incentive Program (also known as “Ascend West Virginia”).
What is the West Virginia Remote Worker Incentive Program?
With the pandemic moving the focus from in-office work to remote work, many companies and organizations have made the decision to cut costs and maintain employee happiness by continuing remote work. States like West Virginia (and many countries elsewhere in the world) aim to capitalize on this new digital nomad lifestyle to boost their economy by inviting those working from home to move to the mountain state. This program was funded by the former CEO of Intuit, Brad D. Smith, and his wife Alys. They made the move from Silicon Valley back to West Virginia, and have since donated $25 million to the program, which they’re running with West Virginia University.
How does the West Virginia Remote Worker Incentive Program work?
Provided you are accepted onto the program, you’ll be credited with cash each month for the first 12 months you live there – it amounts to a little less than $1,000 a month. The first $10,000 will be credited over your first year, and the remaining $2,000 in your second. You’ll also have access to co-working spaces, continuing education programs as West Virginia University, and a year’s free outdoor recreation. This includes access to hiking trails, whitewater rafting, outdoor resorts, horseback riding, ziplining, skiing and rock climbing routes.
To ease you into your new life in West Virginia, they’ll also be providing ample opportunity for you to meet new friends with their welcome events. This will include a John Denver inspired Country Roads tour and an outdoor welcome trip, which will take you to see iconic landmarks and their favorite hidden gems.
While all that comes for free (valued at $20,000), the cash doesn’t – it’s taxable. Once accepted onto the program, you’ll have 6 months to move to West Virginia, though should you need advice or assistance, they are willing to help.
Who qualifies for the West Virginia Remote Worker Incentive Program?
Of course, if you want to get your hands on cash, free outdoor recreation and education, and a new life in West Virginia, you’ll need to meet certain conditions. First, they’re currently only taking applications for those planning to work remotely in Morgantown, though they will be opening applications for Lewisburg and Shepherdstown in early 2022. As of the time of writing, there are only 50 spaces available for Morgantown (closes May 31 2021), so you’ll need to get in fast if you think Morgantown is the place for you.
You must be over 18 and live outside West Virginia currently and be a full-time employed remote worker, though anyone else in your household does not have to be and can look for work in the state. That means those who are self-employed do not currently qualify. You also, ideally, love the outdoors and want to take advantage of all those hiking trails.
If the team at Ascend WV like your application, you’ll be invited to a (virtual) interview, after which they’ll make their selection and notify the successful applicants.
How to Find Out More
Interested? If you qualify and are looking to make a move, the Ascend WV program is definitely one to look into. You can find more information about their offer here, about the cities they’ll be taking applications for here, and find their extensive FAQ here where you’ll find the most beneficial information. Good luck!