Considering leaving the big city behind in favor of somewhere scenic? Now could be the right time.
On Wednesday, Quartz reports, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed a bill into law that will pay people $10,000 if they move to Vermont and work remotely for an employer out of state. The Remote Worker Grant Program will take effect on January 1, 2019, and will help cover moving, living and working expenses. Grants can be used for relocation, computer software and hardware, broadband internet and access to a co-working space.
Currently, Vermont has budgeted funds to support 100 grants for the first three years and 20 additional workers each year from then on. Grant recipients will receive $10,000 over two years that will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
This policy is intended to address Vermont's aging population. While the state may be rich in beautiful landscapes and maple syrup, it has a rapidly shrinking tax base.
"Vermont continues to age, and age faster than the nation as a whole," writes Art Woolf for the Burlington Free Press. "Over the past quarter of a century, the median age nationally has increased by almost five years to 37.8 while Vermont's has increased by 10 years."
This trend has made Vermont one of the oldest states in the nation.
In addition to the remote worker grant program, the bill also launches the state's Stay-to-Stay initiative. The program, aimed at convincing the state's 13 million annual tourists to permanently relocate to Vermont, will be organized by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing and will connect visitors with local employers, entrepreneurs, community leaders and potential neighbors.
"We have about 16,000 fewer workers than we did in 2009. That's why expanding our workforce is one of the top priorities of my administration," Scott said in a statement. "We must think outside the box to help more Vermonters enter the labor force and attract more working families and young professionals to Vermont. That's exactly what the Department of Tourism and Marketing did with this program for out-of-state visitors who may be interested in living full-time in Vermont, and I'm excited to see it move forward."
The initiative will take place over four weekends and will be piloted in three communities. One of those selected communities is Brattleboro, Vermont. "The one thing we need more of in Vermont is people," says Adam Grinold, executive director of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation. "We need more visitors, we need more employees, we need more business owners. We need more people."
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