Two states are using economic development incentives as they take different approaches to encourage remote work.

Vermont’s Remote Worker Grant Program will pay workers up to $5,000 per year for two years to live in Vermont while working for an employer located in another state.  The workers must become full-time residents of Vermont on or after January 1, 2019. The grant would pay for qualifying remote worker expenses, which include costs incurred for relocation to Vermont, computer software and hardware, broadband access or upgrade, and membership in a co-working or similar space.  The program appears to be capped at $125,000 for 2019 and varying amounts in future years.

The grants are meant to spark new economic activity and encourage growth in Vermont’s workforce. “We have a demographic problem in this state,” Gov. Scott said Friday. “We need more people.” Source: Flood of interest in $10k grants for remote workers moving to Vt.

Looking at remote work from another perspective, Utah is seeking to increase jobs in rural areas of the state. The Rural Employment Expansion program would offer grants of $4,000-$6,000 per new FTE in counties with average wages at or below the state average. The grant per business entity would be capped at $25,000 per year.

Another Utah initiative establishes a pilot program to help rural residents find online jobs and business opportunities, including freelance employment or the operation of an online business. Utah State University will administer the Freelance Rural Workforce Development pilot program, which will involve developing relationships with companies that offer remote online opportunities, partnering with websites that list freelance remote online work, and providing coaching for individuals pursuing these opportunities.

“Pulling jobs off the Wasatch Front into our rural areas, allowing people to work remotely,” Chinn said. “If there are opportunities for companies to have rural presence, we’re encouraging that and working collectively with our stakeholders on making that a reality.” Source: GOED working to diversify Utah’s economic landscape

We look forward to following these efforts and expect to see more economic development incentives and programs that consider alternative work arrangements to address rural economic and statewide workforce development needs.

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