For able travelers who can’t get enough great snow for skiing, pure maple syrup and picturesque wooden bridges, Vermont has an offer that can’t be refused. The popular travel destination is offering money to visitors who are not only interested in coming to the Green Mountain State, but willing to stay awhile.
The new government initiative, designed to invigorate a small and aging population with a more youthful workforce, does have some requirements. To be eligible for the Remote Worker Grant Program, laborers must be full-time employees for an out-of-state business, work primarily from home or co-working space in Vermont, and become a full-fledged local resident by the end of the year.
Workers who meet those requirements can receive up to $5,000 a year in grants or no more than $10,000 for two years. The commissioner of the office of economic development, which is administering the grant program signed into law last month, said remote employees better move quickly. Some 1,000 workers with an eye toward Vermont have already requested more information on the grant program.
Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said state tourism agencies routinely offer grants to encourage travel to a specific destination or region. These and other tourism grants are posted on tourism category and through the GrantWatch keyword search under tourism. From Florida across the nation to Washington, awards are typically targeted to nonprofits or small businesses travel and tourism category to promote arts and cultural events or to support marketing initiatives or traveler services that foster economic development.
Vermont’s Remote Worker Grant Program provides money to offset the cost of relocating, computer equipment and software, broadband internet access and co-working memberships. Funds will be distributed on a first come, first served basis, and there are annual limits to the grants.
For 2019, total grants cannot exceed $125,000. The cap increases in 2020 to $250,000, then drops back down to $125,000 in 2021. The idea, for a state that attracts 13 million annual visitors, is timely. Up to 43 percent of Americans work remotely for varying periods.
A small population – 623,657, according to the latest U.S. Census report – has pushed Vermont to think big. The state’s department of tourism and marketing already promotes a Stay to Stay program, which encourages visitors to enjoy a weekend visit to Vermont that includes meetings with realtors and potential employers.
Government agencies, nonprofits, small businesses, and entrepreneurs frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants that promote travel and tourism and boost economic development can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at GrantWatch.com. Sign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.