Vermont needs fresh blood.
First, the maple state enticed people to live there by passing a law last year tempting remote workers with $10,000 to move there throughout the year 2019.
Now, the the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing is introducing its Stay to Stay Weekends, which hopes to lure people already in the area to visit or ski into considering moving to the state through a option that includes a welcome reception, meetings with the employers or a visit to an incubator/co-working spaces, and a tour of the area with a realtor.
The pilot program, launched last year, had 140 participants and yielded seven converts into full-time Vermonters. Meanwhile, 37 more people from the pilot program people are seriously planning to move, and are currently in the midst of looking for jobs and housing in the area.
Vermont has an aging population – one of the oldest in the country – which is creating a shrinking tax base.
“We’re just trying a bunch of different things to try to get some younger folks moving back to Vermont,” says Nate Formalarie, communications director, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. “A lot of folks go to college here, they love the experience, they come back on vacation, and they can envision moving back here, but it’s ‘How do I do that? How do I make that work?’ ”
With the Stay to Stay Weekends (or Stay to Stay Ski Weekends that partner with local resorts), “It’s catching people while they’re here,” Formalarie says. “While you’re on vacation, why don’t you stop in for two hours and meet with a realtor, with some companies that are hiring?”
Potential Vermonters or curiosity seekers must pre-register.
There’s a tech sector and a high amount of remote working available in the state people may not be aware of, Formalarie says.
“One sector that is overlooked in Vermont is that there are a lot of technology jobs here. A lot of people think you work at a ski resort if you live in Vermont and, that’s not the case. There’s also a lot more flexibility working remotely, even within the state. If you have a job in Burlington but you live in Rutland, you can work four days a week from Rutland.”
As for the rural state’s draws, there are four distinct seasons, a big outdoor recreation scene, and small theaters and art galleries. Local food is in, where it’s locavore restaurants or community-supported agriculture.
As for what type of person would make the ideal Vermonter, Formalarie says it helps to have “a desire to enjoy the outdoors, and a desire for a life that’s a little bit slower.”