Innovation Spotlight

It Pays to Be a Digital Nomad in Vermont

Digital nomads, listen up. If you find yourself dreaming of sitting alongside a cool mountain stream with your laptop while you leisurely wrap up your next project, Vermont would like to talk to you.

The Green Mountain State has announced an innovative program to lure remote workers there. Under the new Remote Worker Grant Program, signed into law in May, Vermont will pay workers $10,000 if they move to Vermont and work remotely for an out-of-state employer.
 

The funds can be used to cover moving expenses as well as living and working expenses such as computer equipment, broadband service and co-working space membership.

Why the push to entice new workers? Vermont’s population is aging and declining in numbers. Vermont’s median age rose to 42.8 in 2015, says the Census Bureau, making it second only to Maine in average age of its residents. That’s bad news for the state’s financial coffers as fewer jobs mean less tax revenue.

A second program is aimed at turning some of Vermont’s 13 million annual visitors into full-time residents. Over two upcoming weekends - Aug. 10-13 and Oct.19-22 - the Stay-to-Stay Initiative will connect visitors interested in becoming Vermont residents with local employers, entrepreneurs, community leaders and potential neighbors during their weekend stay.  

Vermont governor Phil Scott recently commented on the program:

“We have about 16,000 fewer workers than we did in 2009. That’s why expanding our workforce is one of the top priorities of my administration,” said Gov. Scott. “We must think outside the box to help more Vermonters enter the labor force and attract more working families and young professionals to Vermont.”

How This Impacts Mobility

Vermont’s strategy taps into a rapidly growing mobile remote workforce. In the US alone, nearly a third of workers in a recent Gallup poll said they work remotely virtually full time. That’s nearly 4 million workers, up 115 percent since 2005, according to another report.  And contrary to some common assumptions, those remote workers had the highest rates of engagement with their colleagues and organization, Gallup says. At an average age  of 46, remote workers represent an ideal target to support Vermont’s long-term population growth strategy.

Related: Beyond Remote Work: Harnessing the Digital Nomad

If a move to Vermont piques your interest, don’t delay. The program will begin accepting applications 1 January 2019 on a first-come basis. The state has earmarked $125,000 in grants for next year and funding will peak at $250,000 in 2020.

Advertisement