The City of Washington is finalizing a marketing campaign to attract more workers to this area. City leaders hope the “Plan to Stay” recruitment campaign will help address the labor shortage that is impacting many local businesses.
Washington is not alone. Small towns and cities across the country are ramping up marketing efforts to lure people to their communities to boost their populations and their local economies.
Others are trying to capitalize on the growing number of professionals who are able to work remotely after COVID-19 and the drive to leave big cities and move to smaller towns with a lower cost of living and a better quality of life.
At least 45 communities across the country are currently offering relocation incentives to attract workers, some upward of $20,000, according to USA Today. Some of those incentives include unconventional ways to sweeten the deal.
Greensburg, Indiana, a rural city in southeastern Indiana with a population of 13,000, is offering a relocation package that includes $5,000 in cash as well as stand-in “grandparents” to babysit their children, according to The Associated Press.
The package also features invitations to home-cooked meals at neighbors’ homes, a one-year membership to the local coworking space and YMCA, free gift cards to the seasonal farmers market and tickets to productions at the local playhouse.
Augusta, Maine; Newton, Iowa; and Morgantown, West Virginia, are offering between $12,000 and $20,000 in relocation incentives, according to AP.
Rutherford County, Tennessee, home to Middle Tennessee State University, will pay off $10,000 in student loans. In Stillwater, Oklahoma, a monetary incentive is coupled with free coffee for a year and a free month of martial arts classes in exchange for workers relocating there.
Lincoln, Kansas, with a population of 3,500, and Mankato, Kansas, with a population of 900, both offer free plots of land to buyers who commit to building a home there.
Natchez, Mississippi, launched its “Shift South” campaign in February, hoping to attract remote workers interested in small-town life. To qualify, you need to be able to work remotely and purchase a home valued at $150,000 or more in Natchez or the Adams County area. In exchange, the city will offer you $2,500 in relocation expenses and $300 per month for one year to further cover your costs of living.
Closer to home, Quincy, Illinois, debuted its “Quincy’s Calling” workforce recruitment campaign in September, which city officials say is designed to help fill the city’s 700-plus open jobs.
The campaign offers new residents moving from outside of Adams County a property tax rebate of up to $5,000 and up to $3,500 in rent or lease subsidies for renters who take a job in Quincy. The campaign also includes a $250 gift card to local Quincy residents who provide names of nonresidents who ultimately relocate to the city.
Washington has a lot to offer new residents. It is considered by many to be one of the best small towns in the state and, indeed, the country. It has a plethora of amenities, cultural opportunities, strong schools, a diversity of housing options and loads of charm. But like the rest the country, it is competing to attract talent. That is a sign of these unprecedented times.