Vermont offers workers $ 7,500 to settle there

Erika J Mitchell /

Vermont is looking for more workers and is willing to pay.

New residents of Green Mountain State can get up to $ 7,500 if they are willing to work in short-staffed industries such as child care, construction or catering.

It’s a good deal for those looking to relocate to what is widely considered to be the most environmentally friendly state in the country.

Cities and states keen on stimulating local populations have for some time used cash incentives and other promotions to attract workers. These programs are primarily in rural states and cities that have experienced net population loss for years.

Rural areas of the United States experience slower population growth than cities, and since so many people can now work remotely from any location, it is theoretically easier to attract higher-income people to help out. local economy.

Interest in escaping crowded cities for a more rural environment has grown with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, making these relocation incentive programs particularly intriguing.

Earlier this spring, an incentive offering remote workers up to $ 12,000 to relocate to Morgantown, West Virginia, created so much buzz that 7,500 people applied for just 53 places. That’s an acceptance rate of 0.7%, which is much more competitive than the most selective colleges in the country.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced last week that the 7,500 applicants will receive $ 2,500 from Rocket Mortgage to help cover mortgage costs if they choose to move around the state on their own and buy a home. .

The struggle to find workers to hire is a nationwide problem. Job vacancies are at record highs and employers across the country say they have struggled to fill vacancies, despite consistently higher unemployment levels than before the pandemic.

Restaurants and other low-wage service jobs are experiencing particularly severe worker shortages, and large retailers like CVS, Walgreens and Costco have increased worker wages in order to attract and retain employees.

Even before the state’s new incentive program arrived, Vermont had seen an influx of city dwellers during the pandemic.

“No regrets,” newcomer and former Boston-area resident Matt Plouffe told NBC station in Burlington in March. “I breathe better, for sure. “

There were also tensions. A Vermont city clerk has been criticized for putting a derogatory message towards newcomers on the cover of an annual city report.

“You came from there because you didn’t like it there, and now you want to change here to be like there,” the message read. “If you want here to be like there, you shouldn’t have gone from there to come here, and you are invited to leave here and come back as soon as possible.”

The clerk then apologized.

New Vermont Worker Relocation Grants will reimburse up to $ 7,500 for expenses – such as moving expenses, security deposits, and their first month’s rent – for those who moved to the state after July 1 2021.

To qualify, winners must find full-time work in Vermont as cashiers, bartenders, home health aides, cashiers, laborers, landscapers, carpenters, farmers, or in dozens of other positions that are the most needed in the state. Everyone must be paid a minimum of $ 13.39 per hour, which is considered living wage in Vermont.

Applications are now open here and being accepted on a first come, first served basis. And the incentives to move to Vermont aren’t limited to those in in-demand jobs.

A new round of remote worker relocation grants are also available in the state next year. The grants will reimburse workers who move to Vermont on or after February 1, 2022, up to $ 7,500 in moving expenses. Previous versions of the program, launched in 2018, have awarded more than 300 grants worth up to $ 10,000 to workers who have moved to the state.

If you are not interested in Vermont, it may be worth considering resettlement incentive programs in other parts of the country.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, Savannah, Georgia and Topeka, Kansas are among the other places offering cash for new residents. And West Virginia is now accepting applicants for another round of its $ 12,000 incentive program, this one for new residents to the city of Lewisburg.

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