Woodstock Area Job Bank

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The remote working movement is hotter than ever.  Some sources claim that more than 1.7 million people will work remotely in 2019. Vermont is jumping on the band wagon with the new 2019 “Remote Worker Grant Program”.   The gist of the program is that it gives up to $10,000  to anyone who commits to living in Vermont and working remotely from home for an out-of-state business.

Sounds good.  Most people agree that getting younger people to both move to and stay in Vermont is important for the state’s economy.   Census data indicates that the number of people 65 and older is growing at a rate four times faster than younger Vermonters ages 20 to 30.  What does it really mean to people considering applying for the program?

Jennifer is an insurance specialist who works remotely.  She could work from Vermont, but her husband, Sean, does not have a remote job.  He would have to quit his job and find another when he gets here. There are not as many opportunities in rural Vermont unless you are looking in the service, part-time, or seasonal sector. With $10,000, they might be able to buy a house. With $10,000, they could survive an income reduction for a little while.  Their oldest daughter would benefit from a small school and close community.   Their youngest is years away from school and would need daycare— working remotely is still work and toddlers don’t sleep as much as babies.  A little research proves daycare costs about the same in Vermont and fewer slots are available. Jennifer also learns that with all the school consolidations the local school might not be so local anymore. Jennifer decides it is too much risk for her family.

Now Bill, on the other hand, is 25.  He also has a remote job selling waste water management systems all over the country. He can literally work anywhere as long as he can get to a major airport. He loves the outdoors and often comes to Vermont to mountain bike and ski. He has no interest in the grant program, even with the $10,000 incentive. “I’m a single guy.” he says,”I need people.  I need a social life.  Maybe if I was married.”

Ryan and Kristy would love to move to Vermont. They would be interested in some of the jobs that employers are currently begging to fill— seasonal work.   With the $10,000, they could get a great apartment and a cushion to tide them over while they get established.  Both are hard workers and with a little seed money they know they could make the move.  Unfortunately the “Remote Worker Grant Program” doesn’t apply to them.

So who will the program appeal to?  Interestingly, when I put that question out to various locals who work from home remotely they said they thought the program would appeal to people nearing retirement who were looking for a change of pace. Go figure.

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