Get paid $12,000 and free outdoor recreation to move to West Virginia

Peter Watson

West Virginia will pay remote workers $12,000 to relocate to the state – and give them a year's free outdoor recreation worth over $2,500.

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West Virginia will pay remote workers $12,000 to move there (Image: Elena Berd/Shutterstock)

Since the arrival of the pandemic, the world has opened up to remote workers and digital nomads. An increasing number of destinations are offering incentives to sweeten the packages.

Recent initiatives have seen Tulsa in Oklahoma and Natchez in Mississippi offer incentives for remote workers to relocate to their townships.

The state of West Virginia has become the latest region to offer incentives to encourage people to move into the area.

The Ascend WV program is offering remote workers who move there $10,000 in cash during their first year and $2,000 during the second year.

Gov. Jim Justice officially unveils the new statewide remote work program (Video: Ascend WV)

Once there, they will be able to avail themselves of a free co-working space to stay digitally connected and attend events to network with entrepreneurs with state business leaders.

The opportunity to earn remote work certifications through West Virginia University and access to John Chambers College of Business and Economics’ entrepreneurship ecosystem will also be offered.

“We are rolling out the red carpet and inviting remote workers from across the country to make Almost Heaven, West Virginia their home,” says West Virginia governor, Jim Justice.

As the state is recognised for its access to the outdoors, the program is also offering a free recreation package for participants to encourage a healthy work-life balance.

Remote workers who take up the opportunity can explore the state's 2,032 miles of whitewater, 4,000 rock-climbing routes, 1.5 million acres of public lands, 1,500 miles of public trails and the newest US national park, New River Gorge Park and Preserve.

Why West Virginia?

West Virginia is considered to be one of the prettiest states in the United States and an outdoor-lovers' paradise, with its line of unbroken leafy mountains, roaring white-water rivers and snowcapped ski resorts.

West Virginia is known for its outdoor living (Video: West Virginia Tourism)

West Virginia is located in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and is within a day’s drive of many popular destinations along the East Coast.

The Ascend WV communities are strategically located near major metropolitan markets for quick and convenient access for business travel.

West Virginia also enjoys low taxes with income tax rates ranging from 3% to 6.50%, depending on citizen’s income level and filing status. Local sales tax is 6%, with some municipalities varying slightly.

The website even has a handy cost of living comparison tool, so potential relocators can see how their location compares to West Virginia.

For example, West Virginia has a 95% lower cost of living than Washington DC with a $460,000 lower average house cost.

When compared to New York City, West Virginia has a 139% lower cost of living $584,000 of lower average house cost.

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Kayaking on the river, New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia (Image: Malachi Jacobs/Shutterstock)

How to apply

Applications are now being accepted for Morgantown, which will be the first of the state's participating cities, with others including Lewisburg and Shepherdstown.

In order to be eligible for the program, participants must currently work remotely or have the ability to work remotely full-time at a business based outside of West Virginia or be self-employed outside of the state. Evidence of employment and income will be required prior to acceptance.

Potential participants must reside full-time outside the state and have the capability to relocate to the greater Morgantown area within six months of being accepted. They are also required to be US citizens or permanent legal residents of the US.

To learn more and apply to the Ascend WV remote work program, visit its website here.

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The world is opening up to remote workers and digital nomads (Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

$12,000 cash

As if life in West Virginia isn’t prize enough, the program will actually pay remote workers $12,000 to move there. No strings attached.

Over the course of the first year in their new mountain town, new arrivals will receive $10,000. They’ll get $10-grand just for moving here!

When they fall in love with "Almost Heaven" they will receive an additional $2,000 for their second year in West Virginia.

Whether worked decide to put this $12,000 towards a new car for scenic drives down country roads or a new mountain bike, it’s totally up to you. It’s true what they say:

"Remote work from the mountains with an extra 12-grand in your pocket. You’ll be impressed at just how far it’ll go," – Ascend WV

Free outdoor recreation

"Stretch your legs and give your lunch break a refresh in the great outdoors," says the Ascend WV website.

It's possible to go for a hike in your backyard or try your hand at a high-speed adventure with rafting, off-roading and climbing. The program creators believe these activities will give new arrivals just the energy they need for their next video conferencing call.

To sweeten the deal, the offer will also be extended to free outdoor gear rentals for workers and their family and friends.

With a year of free outdoor recreation, access to free gear rentals and a complimentary outdoor focused welcome trip all worth well over $2,500, the Ascend WV package is the first of its kind in the United States.

Free coworking space

Remote work is here to stay and apparently Ascend WV have the solution to perfectly balance your busy checklists with your currently non-existent leisure time: coworking spaces and a community hub in the heart of thriving mountain towns.

Social programming

To help new arrivals feel at home and find their place in the community, they will be Ascend WV's special guest at a variety of social events and exclusive adventures.

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Peter Watson is a writer, photographer and adventurer. A keen trekker and climber he can usually be found on the trails of the Greater Ranges. He’s visited over 80 countries and is currently focused on climbing the seven summits – the highest mountain on every continent. Four down, three to go... He has also travelled extensively around the US developing a penchant for American backcountry, abandoned buildings and natural wonders en route.

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