West Virginia will pay remote workers $12K to move to state

Pack your bags: A program in West Virginia announced it will pay remote workers $12,000 to move to the Mountain State.

The new initiative, launched by Ascend West Virginia, will pay $10,000 over the course of the first year in a new town. New residents will receive an additional $2,000 for their second year living in the state.

"It has always been my dream to give back to the state that forever has my heart," Brad D. Smith, a chairman of the initiative, told FOX Television Stations. "West Virginians have been ascending mountains for generations. Now, we’re inviting remote workers from across the country to join us in our ascent to rise to new heights, together. They’ll quickly discover there’s nothing like the inspiration of the mountains to fuel their pursuits."

To sweeten the deal, the program said it will also give new residents access to a year of free recreational activities and outdoor gear rentals.

"There’s a reason that 50 years ago John Denver coined West Virginia as Almost Heaven in his hit song Take Me Home, Country Roads, and we’d like to share it with you," the program wrote on its website. "Whether you put this $12,000 towards a new car for scenic drives down our country roads or a new mountain bike, it’s totally up to you. It’s true what they say: Money goes further in the mountains."

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Smith, his wife, Alys, along with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice gathered virtually for an event to launch the initiative on Monday.

"Today, we are rolling out the red carpet and inviting remote workers from across the country to make Almost Heaven, West Virginia their new home," Justice said. "I couldn’t be more proud of the dream team that we’ve assembled to get this program off the ground."

Permanent remote work has increased across the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to discover new ways to work efficiently outside of an office.

West Virginia is one of several states that hopes to bring in an influx of new residents.

The initiative is currently accepting applications to live in Morgantown. Lewisburg and Shepherdstown will also be available in the future.