With many communities’ economies gutted by plant closures and fleeing industries, workers have been moving to big cities and glittering tech regions.
In an attempt to keep towns, cities, counties and even states economically vibrant, state and local governments in the U.S. are offering financial incentives for in-migration.
Following are some intriguing places that offer money, resources or student loan repayment assistance to help you start over.
“Make rural Kansas your new home!” is the call-out from the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ) program.
The offer: a higher quality of life, help repaying student loans and a lower cost of living.
The ROZ program includes 77 rural Kansas counties authorized to offer either or both of the following incentives to new full-time residents:
- Up to $15,000 in student loan repayments over five years
- State income tax waivers for up to five years
Applicants for student loan repayment must have an associate’s, bachelor’s or graduate degree and have taken up residence in a ROZ county after 2011.
Learn more: Program details are here.
2. St. Clair County, Michigan
The Come Home Award Fund is technically a scholarship program, but instead of offering funds at the beginning of a college student’s career, the money is paid on the back end, to lure young graduates to Michigan’s St. Clair County.
Recipients get up to $15,000, paid quarterly, to use in repaying their student debt. Recipients must get a job or start a business in the St. Clair area within 120 days of receiving the funds.
The money is available to graduates of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) programs who have completed a two- or four-year or graduate degree within the past 10 years, have student debt and currently live outside the area.
Learn more: Get details and apply here.
3. North Platte, Nebraska
The North Platte area’s worker enticement program, WorkNP.com, offers local companies up to $5,000 in matching funds to create a “robust, attractive worker incentive package” to help fill a full-time job that pays “at least $20/hour within three years.”
The money is for relocation expenses, down payments, equipment purchases and student loan repayments.
The aim: to bring “new, highly skilled workers to our community, and (retain) local high school and college graduates.”
Learn more: Start your job search at the state government’s jobs website NEworks, where you can search for jobs and download a jobs app.
4. Grant County, Indiana
The Economic Growth Council of Grant County, Indiana, offers a Grant’s Got Talent program to help employers recruit skilled workers to the county. The program offers prospective Grant County employees financial assistance toward purchasing a home. The program currently is closed to 2019 applicants.
At stake is a county grant of $2,500, which can grow to $7,500 in total if your new employer matches the county’s grant. The grant money is given by the county in collaboration with employers and the money must be used to buy a home in Grant County.
To qualify, a job seeker must:
- Live outside Grant County (if you live in Grant County now, you’re not eligible)
- Find and be hired for a new, full-time job located in Grant County
- Demonstrate a skill level, trade certification or degree required by the employer
Learn more: The employer must apply first, filling out the “Employer Application,” and the Grant County Economic Growth Council follows up with eligible applicants who will then fill out the “Employee Application.” The council’s website describes the process. To learn about applying in 2020 or about applying for jobs in Grant County, call the council: (765) 662-0650.
5. Marne, Iowa
In an effort to lure new residents, the town of Marne, Iowa, is offering free lots — approximately 80 feet by 120 feet — to newcomers who will build a home of at least 1,200 square feet on the lot and complete it within 18 months.
“We are friendly to businesses and looking for some new neighbors and friends,” says the town’s website describing the program.
Marne is located 45 minutes east of Omaha and about an hour west of Des Moines.
Learn more: Download details, including an application form that asks, among other things, your proposed building plans and specs and the estimated value of the home, your timeframe for relocating and reasons for moving to Marne.
Vermont’s 2019 Remote Worker Grant Program hopes to lure full-time professionals who work primarily from home.
If accepted, you may receive up to $10,000 — $5,000 a year for up to two years — for costs of office equipment, co-working space, relocation and other expenses.
Key requirements include:
- The remote worker’s employer must be located in another state and pay the worker with a W-2 form.
- The worker must become a full-time resident of Vermont.
- Eligible remote workers must do a majority of their jobs in a home office or co-working space in Vermont.
- Only one grant is available per household.
Learn more: Program criteria and details are listed here.
7. Tulsa, Oklahoma
“Hi, remote workers! We’ll pay you to work from Tulsa. You’re going to love it here.”
Among the program’s incentives: $10,000 toward moving expenses, a monthly housing stipend and free desk space at a co-working space. Among the requirements:
- You’ll make the move to Tulsa within six months.
- You’ll be self-employed outside Tulsa County or have a full-time remote job.
Applications have been accepted for 2019. Register to be notified when applications open up for 2020.
Learn more: Details and eligibility requirements are here.
8. Hamilton, Ohio
The Hamilton Community Foundation calls its Talent Attraction Program Scholarship a “reverse scholarship,” since it gives recent graduates help with their student loan debt.
College grads who move to live and work in Hamilton stand to receive up to $10,000 — $300 per month for 30 months. If you leave town or end your job within the 30 months, your payments will end. Requirements include:
- Graduates of a STEAM program (science, technology, engineering, the arts or mathematics) are given preference. You must have completed a degree within the last seven years.
- You will move to one of the designated urban core areas in the city of Hamilton and do not live there now.
- You can show you have a job in Hamilton or Butler County, Ohio.
- Preference is given applicants who demonstrate they’ll get involved in community activities and want to give back to the Hamilton community
Would you move for incentives like these? Tell us, in comments below or at MoneyTalksNews on Facebook.