We are a country on the move. Many Americans relocated during pandemic-ravaged 2020 due to a job loss or fear of catching the virus.
Meanwhile, cities and towns left out of the boom are working to lure workers and families to migrate in, hoping to boost their populations and grow their economies. Some dangle offers of thousands of dollars to entice workers — often workers with remote jobs.
These U.S. cities are offering financial incentives to newcomers.
1. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Eligible applicants must be able to relocate to the Tulsa area in the 2021 calendar year and either have full-time remote employment or be self-employed outside of Oklahoma.
Accepted applicants will get $10,000 upfront and desk space at a co-working space in downtown Tulsa. You must be at least 18 and eligible to work in the U.S.
Learn more: Visit TulsaRemote.com.
2. Topeka, Kansas
Get $10,000 or $15,000 — and maybe even a $1,000 bonus from Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. How? Rent or buy a home in Shawnee County within a year of moving there or being hired in the area. Or you can work remotely for an employer located outside the county. The website ChooseTopeka.com, below, has the rules.
Learn more: Visit ChooseTopeka.com.
3. Northwest Arkansas
The Life Works Here initiative of the Northwest Arkansas Council offers relocating workers $10,000 and a bicycle (to explore the miles and miles of trails in the region) or annual membership to a local arts or cultural institution. The council is investing more than $1 million to attract top talent to the region.
To take advantage of the Life Works Here initiative you must:
- Be at least 24
- Have at least two years of work experience
- Currently live outside Arkansas
- Have a full-time job
- Relocate to northwest Arkansas within six months of acceptance
- Meet additional eligibility criteria
Learn more: Visit FindingNWA.com.
4. Newton, Iowa
To take part in the Newton Housing Initiative, buy or build a new home and get either $5,000 (for homes worth $100,000 to $179,999) or $10,000 (for homes valued at $180,000 and over). Home values don’t include the price of the land in the city, 30 miles east of the state capital, Des Moines.
You must have begun construction last year or in the remainder of 2021 on your new single-family home and fully complete the construction. You’ll get the financial incentive from the city upon closing your home financing.
Learn more: Visit the Newton Housing Initiative page on the city’s website.
5. Hamilton County, Ohio
The Hamilton Community Foundation offers a Talent Attraction Program to attract new residents to the southwest Ohio area with the lure of helping them repay student loan debt. The private foundation supports the region (which includes Cincinnati), works for community revitalization and addresses social and health issues that affect children and families locally.
Eligible applicants must:
- Have graduated within the last seven years, preferably from a STEAM program (science, technology, engineering, the arts or mathematics).
- Live outside Hamilton County but plan to move to designated areas there.
- Have or get a professional job in Hamilton or Butler County.
Program participants could receive $300 per month, to a maximum of $10,000.
Learn more: Visit the Talent Attraction Program page at the foundation’s website.
6. Natchez, Mississippi
A move to this small, historic city on the Mississippi River can earn a remote worker up to $2,500 in relocation reimbursement plus $300 per month for a year. The program was conceived to attract remote workers to the region in the southwest part of the state.
Applicants must be willing to buy property worth at least $150,000 and have a job with an employer located outside of the region, according to Natchez Inc., an economic development agency.
Learn more: Read about the Shift South incentive program.
7. The Shoals in Alabama
Get $10,000 in installments to work remotely in the Shoals, which comprises the Florence-Muscle Shoals metropolitan area in northwest Alabama.
To be eligible for the program, you must earn at least $52,000 annually and move to the Shoals within six months of receiving the award. You’ll need to have full-time remote employment or be self-employed outside of Colbert and Lauderdale Counties.
Learn more: Visit RemoteShoals.com.
8. Mankato, Kansas
You can get a good start on living the small-town life with a free building lot in this north-central Kansas community of 900.
Among other requirements, applicants must:
- Begin construction within six months of acquiring the land.
- Build a three (or more) bedroom home with at least 1,200 square feet of living area.
- Finish construction within two years after taking possession of the lot.
Learn more: Visit the Free Land page on the Chamber of Commerce site.
9. Lincoln, Kansas
This rural agricultural community with less than 2,000 residents overlooks the Saline River. Lincoln is offering free building lots that range from 14,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet. The lots are ready for construction, with roads and utilities installed.
Applicants must agree to build a house within an agreed-upon time frame and comply with design guidelines. Rules are given and questions answered at the link below to program information on the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation website.
Learn more: Visit the Free Home Site Program page.
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