Craft beer, maple syrup, truly organic farming, snow skiing, independent thinking, arts & crafts studios, and the absolute natural glory of autumn—like nowhere else on the planet. If moving to the Bernie Sanders state (of mind) sounds like a dream come true, then the governor of Vermont has a message for you: he wants to pay you to move there.
Earlier this week, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed a bill into law that will pay newcomers a $10,000 grant as a reward for moving to Vermont and working remotely for an out-of-state employer.
The Remote Worker Grant Program will take effect on January 1, 2019, and will help to defray the costs of moving, living, and working expenses for new Vermont transplants. Grants can be used for relocation, computer software and hardware, broadband internet, and access to a co-working space. Currently, Vermont has budgeted funds to support 100 grants for the first three years and 20 additional workers each year after that. Grant recipients will receive $10,000 over two years that will be distributed on a first-come, fist-served basis.
Why the campaign to attract people "from away", as we natives say in New England? Because, despite all the hipster attraction of living in Burlington and attending many of the top-ranking colleges in the state (including UVM and several smaller liberal arts schools), Vermont's population is rapidly aging and the state's economy has lost approximately 16,000 workers since 2009.
So, Governor Scott saw an opportunity to infuse the state with fresh, young blood—talent in the form of former tourists turned "Stay-to-Stay"-ers, another program attached to the bill that aims to convince Vermont's 13 million annual visitors to relocate permanently, and will be run by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.
In a statement dated May 23, 2018, Vermont Governor Scott said:
"We must think outside the box to help more Vermonters enter the labor force and attract more working families and young professionals to Vermont."
That said, caveat carpet-bagger: While New England is a majestic and wonderful place to live and work (that is, if you're hardy enough for the winters), it can also be a notoriously brutal place to be a newcomer. Vermonters are famous for only considering someone to be native after seven generations—as this recent story about a transplant entrepreneur in Yankee Magazine will attest.
But if you already prize Vermonter values—independent thinking, a strong work ethic, being neighborly, contributing to the community, hardiness of mind, body, and spirit, honesty and integrity—then you should be welcomed into the fold in just a matter of time.
To make sure of that, however, the Stay-to-Stay initiative wants to connect young future residents to resources—as well as inviting them for pilot weekends in the Rutland, Brattleboro, and the Bennington-Manchester communities to "try before they buy", so to speak. (Or maybe more aptly, "prove before you move"?)
One such three-day recruiting weekend is happening right now (June 1 through 4, 2018), with two more happening this summer (August 10 through 13, 2018) and fall (October 19 through 22, 2018).
For more information, visit the Stay-to-Stay website.