West Virginia Program Will Pay Remote Workers $12,000 to Move There

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As companies from Silicon Valley to Wall Street permit employees to continue working remotely even after offices reopen, Americans could be looking at vast opportunities to save money by moving to a region with a lower cost of living. However, remote and self-employed workers who move to West Virginia can enjoy more than just a lower cost of living — they can bring an extra $12,000 in cash plus other perks into their new mountain home, CBS News reports.

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Launched by West Virginia native and Silicon Valley entrepreneur and former Intuit CEO Brad Smith, the Ascend West Virginia program came together through a partnership with the West Virginia Department of Tourism and West Virginia University.

It offers remote and self-employed workers a cool $12,000 in cash over two years, plus a pass to enjoy access to outdoor activities for free for a year and other perks, says the Ascend West Virginia website that promotes the program. The package is valued at over $20,000, according to the Ascend website, and was made possible through a $25 million gift from Smith and his wife, Alys.

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Details of the Program

Remote workers and self-employed contractors who move to West Virginia under the program will receive $10,000, payable in monthly installments, for their first year in the state. They will receive another $2,000 at the end of their second consecutive year of residency.

The free outdoor recreation includes activities such as whitewater rafting, downhill skiing and free outdoor gear rentals for the program participant plus their family and friends for a full year. Participants also gain access to free coworking space within their new mountain town.

Ascend West Virginia also provides a free Country Roads tour, where newcomers to the state can get to know their neighbors, check out top tourist attractions and explore their new home. The program also offers professional development and entrepreneurial assistance through a partnership with West Virginia University.

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Those interested in participating can submit their application to Ascend West Virginia by May 31. Opportunities are only available in Morgantown right now, but the program will open to additional mountain locations, including Lewisburg and Shepherdstown, in early 2022, the program website says.

Cost of Living in West Virginia

The Ascend website offers a calculator to compare the cost of living in many U.S. cities to the cost in West Virginia, using data from Sperling’s Best Places 2021. As an example, West Virginia is 94.88% less expensive than Washington, D.C., with housing costs almost 450% lower.

A new study from bill pay service doxo showed that monthly bills for West Virginia residents are 21.4% below the national average.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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