In 2019, Vermont will start paying $10,000 to eligible remote workers who move to the state.
The grant program aims to revitalize Vermont's aging workforce by attracting out-of-state tech workers.
To apply via the state's Agency of Commerce and Community Development, remote workers will need to become full-time residents of Vermont.
Vermont is cutting a sweet deal for remote workers who relocate to the state.
Starting in January 2019, Vermont will pay $10,000 over two years to a small number of remote workers who move there — money that will help cover costs for relocation, computer software and hardware, internet access, and membership to co-working spaces. Gov. Phil Scott signed the bill into law on Wednesday.
By luring out-of-state tech workers, the grant program hopes to revitalize Vermont's aging workforce. As The Burlington Free Press notes, the state is aging faster than the rest of the US, and has the third highest median age in the country. Over the past 25 years, the median age nationally has increased by near five years to 37.8, while Vermont's has risen by 10 years to 42.7.
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How to apply
In the coming months, people will be able to apply via Vermont's Agency of Commerce and Community Development, which is still finalizing some of the program's details.
To be eligible, people must become full-time residents of Vermont after January 1, 2019. (Current residents are not able to apply.) The law also defines a qualifying worker as someone who works primarily from a home office or co-working space for a company based outside Vermont.
Workers will get $5,000 per year for two years, after they submit reimbursement forms that prove they used the money for costs related to moving and having remote workspaces. The state will distribute the money on a first-come, first-serve basis, and $125,000 will become available in 2019. While that only seems like enough money for 25 people, Senator Michael Sirotkintold The New York Times that he could see grants going to as many as 100 people next year, since most workers will have less than $5,000 in annual resettlement expenses.
The program will peak in 2020, when $250,000 will become available. In 2021, the available funds will decrease to $125,000, and then to no more than $100,000 in the years that follow.
In addition to the grants, Vermont is employing several strategies to entice workers to come to the state. In March, Gov. Scott and the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing announced the Stay-to-Stay initiative, a program designed to help tourists permanently relocate to the state.
"This is a piece of a much larger puzzle," Michael Schirling, the commerce secretary, told The Burlington Free Press. "We want to learn from what the Legislature has asked us to do with this particular program and then see what lessons we can learn to apply that to other efforts to recruit workforce."
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