Northwest Arkansas Council is offering $10,000 cash and perks such as $600 towards a mountain bike to prospective new residents that want to move to Benton and Washington Counties.
The recently launched 'Life Works Here' program is an attempt by the region to incentivize more talented STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) workers to the region. The Council says, "Northwest Arkansas has more than 10,000 job openings right now and has a shortage of talent to fill available STEAM jobs. We want to attract talent who will help us build a richer long-term talent pipeline that supports our thriving local economy. The incentive is specifically targeting remote workers – we are looking for people who can meaningfully contribute to and actively participate in our vibrant community."
The region is home to the recently trademarked 'Mountain Bike Capital of the World
, that offers 150 miles of mountain bike trails. The region also houses the headquarters of Walmart and the grandsons of its founder, Steuart and Tom Walton, have invested heavily in the sport and infrastructure surrounding their local region and beyond.
The Waltons are also involved with the Life Works Here scheme, the Council says, "The initiative is sponsored by the Northwest Arkansas Council and made possible by philanthropic support from the Walton Family Foundation at the recommendation of Steuart Walton and Tom Walton." It's not clear how many places will be available for the scheme but apparently $1 million will be invested in this scheme over the next six months.
The perks for moving include the $10,000 cash stipend and a "street or mountain bike". Having reached out to the Northwest Arkansas Council, it has clarified that it will provide a credit of up to $600 to be used towards the purchase of a street or mountain bike at one of the local bike shops. Participants that don't want a bicycle money can swap it for an annual membership to one of North West Arkansas' arts and cultural institutions.
Other perks of living in the region include a per-capita income that’s 14% higher than the national average, a low cost of living and a less hectic pace of life than city living. Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council, told Forbes
, “Northwest Arkansas has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, but we must increase our STEAM and entrepreneurial talent to ensure economic growth in the future. Right now we know a lot of people are re-evaluating their priorities and their lifestyle. We are seizing the opportunity to capture attention at this time when many employers have extended work from home opportunities and employees—knowing they can work from anywhere—are reconsidering where they are living and what they are prioritizing.”
Eligibility requirements include that a candidate is at least 24 years old, has at least two years of work experience and full-time employment, is a resident outside of the state and is willing to relocate within six months of acceptance.
This isn't the first scheme of its kind and similar initiatives have been set up in Tulsa
and Wellington, New Zealand
in recent years.
For more information and to apply, click here
.Article updated following clarification from Northwest Arkansas Council.