Program that pays workers $10,000 to move to Vermont and work remotely is now accepting applications

A picturesque red barn in Stockbridge, Vermont
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

In May of 2018, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed a bill funding a state initiative that offers $10,000 to people willing to move to Vermont and work remotely for an out of state employer.

As of January 1st, 2019, the Remote Worker Grant Program is accepting applications.

At the program's inception, Vermont budgeted funds to support 100 grants for the first three years and 20 additional workers each year from then on. Grant recipients can receive $5,000 a year over two years and will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. These grants can be used to cover moving, living and working expenses, including relocation, computer software and hardware, broadband internet and access to a co-working space.

So far, the application for the Remote Worker Grant Program has been downloaded thousands of times, but no completed applications have been submitted.

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"We expect to be oversubscribed," Joan Goldstein, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development, tells CNBC Make It. "It's first-come, first-served, so in the order of receipt of completed application, until the money runs out. And if the money runs out, we are hoping to get more funding so that people are not discouraged from applying."

In order to apply, interested workers need to provide verification that they are employed by an organization outside of the state of Vermont and that they have moved and are now a resident of Vermont. To receive reimbursement for their expenses, members of the program simply submit invoices. (Those interested in applying can learn more here.)

"It's not an onerous application by any stretch. It's pretty simple and straightforward," says Goldstein.

While Vermont may be rich in beautiful landscapes and maple syrup, it has a rapidly shrinking tax base, and the initiative is intended to address the state's aging population.

Sugar maple harvest in Vermont
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

"It's an acknowledgement that we need more people in this state," says Goldstein. "We need to share the tax burden. It's as simple as that. We are a small state with a small population and we are one of the oldest states in the nation."

According to the Burlington Free Press, the national median age has increased by roughly five years, to 37.8, over the past several decades while the median age in Vermont has increased by 10 years.

Vermont legislators expect a "significant return" from their investment in the Remote Worker Grand Program in the form of property taxes, payroll taxes and sales taxes.

"There are several multipliers of people living in the state and spending money in the state. It helps relieve tax burden and share it among more people rather than less," explains Goldstein, citing good public schools, low crime, outdoor activities and tight knit communities as factors that make Vermont a great place to live.

The program also capitalizes on an increasingly common trend — telecommuting.

Working from home is more popular — and common — than ever. According to Gallup's "State of the American Workplace" survey, 43 percent of working Americans occasionally work remotely and over a third of workers would change jobs for the opportunity to do so.

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"Work is very portable, much more so now than ever before in history," says Goldstein. "People take their jobs with them wherever they travel. Why not make Vermont your permanent home and bring your job with you?"

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