Under the remote worker programme, out-of-state participants who move to West Virginia will receive $12,000 along with passes for a year to indulge in whitewater rafting, golf, rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing, ziplining and other activities.
West Virginia in the southeastern United States is joining the growing list of places recruiting remote workers — with a thrill-seeking twist.
A public-private programme launched Monday will try to lure outdoor enthusiasts to live in the rural state with enticements of cash and free passes for recreational destinations. The goal is to leverage one of West Virginia’s most appealing assets, its epic natural beauty, to stem the tide of population loss in the only US state that has fewer residents now than in 1950
The new programme represents a more targeted effort than a bill proposed by Republican Governor Jim Justice for a massive income tax cut, which fell apart in the legislature just before the regular session ended Saturday.
Under the remote worker programme, out-of-state participants who move to West Virginia will receive $12,000 along with passes for a year to indulge in whitewater rafting, golf, rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing, ziplining and other activities. The full relocation package is valued at more than $20,000.
“We want to give folks the opportunity to escape big cities,” state Tourism Cabinet Secretary Chelsea Ruby said in an interview with The Associated Press. “In West Virginia, there are no crowded places, long commutes or traffic jams. There’s just plenty of places to put down roots and explore the great outdoors.”
Several other states and US cities have launched a variety of remote worker programmes, including a popular project hatched by a billionaire philanthropist in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2018.
The coronavirus pandemic sent the work-from-home concept into the stratosphere over the past year with tens of millions of employees temporarily or permanently pushed out of their offices. West Virginia officials are counting on that to continue.