remote work
Remote workers could receive $4,500 cash if they move to Kansas Upwork

Kansas' Lincoln County is asking you to move in with them - and they will pay you for it.

The rural area's population, which is roughly 130 miles north of Wichita, is home to less than 3,000. The local leaders see this as a problem in the territory's economic growth so they recently launched a "lucrative" program to attract more settlers and remote workers to move there.

To boost the population, attract remote workers and expand the economy, local leaders have pledged to provide new residents with a generous "moving-in" package. This includes $4,500 cash, a $500 donation towards high-speed internet, a gym membership, and a monthly delivery of farm-fresh eggs. The new residents will also be greeted with a plot of land where they can build a home, offering a truly unique opportunity.

The scheme in Lincoln County was inspired by numerous other towns that experimented with similar economic growth techniques to fight the financial implications of a low population. West Lafayette, Indiana; Ellsworth County, Kansas; Tulsa and Oklahoma, amongst other places, also saw the introduction of these measures.

The target of the said package was to attract at least five remote workers to the county in the first year when it launched in January 2023. The scheme has since been widened to attract a new group of applicants.

Make My Move, an Indianapolis-based business that promotes connections between communities and remote employees through rewards and cash, is in charge of advertising and monitoring the scheme. According to Make My Move, the scheme has already shown promising results, with the aim to bring 70 new households to the area. Twenty three other counties have already expressed interest in participating, demonstrating the potential success of the initiative.

Who can apply?

To apply for the relocation package, remote workers must be full-time employees, earning a minimum of $50,000 per year, and have previously lived outside of Kansas. After signing up for the scheme on their official website, participants must agree to move within six months and commit to staying in the area for at least a year. Remote workers may also be eligible to receive an additional $5,000 in cash if their partner is employed in a local position.

So far, 330 applications for the scheme have been made since it was announced. Business Insider reported that more than 35 of the applications match the requirements.

Accepted participants of the economic scheme will enjoy a range of benefits. These include lower living expenses, affordable housing options, tax reductions, and opportunities to reduce debt. Additionally, participants may be eligible for supported student loan repayments and state income tax reductions in select areas, further enhancing their financial stability.

"We work hard to ensure our movers know what we offer and what we don't, so there's no movers' remorse," said Kelly Gourley, the executive director of the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation. "And we work to match them up with people who'll introduce them to our community and welcome them in."

"The money is just the hook," Gourley said. "It won't make someone like where they live; it's what comes after that makes someone feel good about the move."

Early residents of Lincoln have come from diverse and densely populated areas, including Atlanta, Dallas, and Memphis, Tennessee - according to Make My Move. These pioneers have found success and fulfilment in their new home, with many citing the supportive community and the opportunities for personal and professional growth as key factors. Lincoln is also one of 95 Kansas counties that are each part of the state's Rural Opportunity Zone initiative, which aims to increase employment and attract newcomers.

The Innovation Centre is a key supporter of Lincoln's scheme, providing resources and guidance to entrepreneurs and contributing to the local economy. The Centre has played a crucial role in expanding Lincoln's movement recruitment strategy, successfully attracting new workers to Northwest Kansas.

"As a participant in our relocation scheme, you can also benefit from the Centre's services and network, further enhancing your professional opportunities," Gourley added.