This article appeared in the December 19, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Silicon Valley to workers: We will pay you to move

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/File
Small shops crowd the main street in the Elmwood Village neighborhood, on Oct. 17, 2013, in Buffalo, New York.

First, have you heard about the startup that’s offering people $10,000 to leave the Bay Area?

The company, MainStreet, was launched by former Google employees who started wondering, “How do you create jobs and opportunity in suburban and rural America?”

It’s a question many cities and states are asking. At a time of record low rates of relocation – fewer than 10% of Americans moved in 2019 – some employee-starved locales are suddenly acting like Kelly Services. North Platte, Nebraska, aims to attract new talent by matching company signing bonuses, up to $5,000, for transplants. For Vermont, whose tiny population is aging faster than its artisanal cheeses, the New Worker Grant Program provides assistance to those moving to the state. (If that isn’t incentive enough, we hear the state’s most famous company, Ben & Jerry’s, is hiring.) 

MainStreet is enticing tech workers to less-expensive cities such as Sacramento, California. It helps its recruits find full-time jobs as remote workers inside one of its coworking spaces. Employees get a higher quality of life. Companies get talent that doesn’t cost Silicon Valley rates.

The goal, says product manager Dan Lindquist, is to redistribute capital to “have-not” cities. He hopes it will help repair the “social fabric that mixes together and makes us see eye to eye as people – and what draws us together as a nation.”

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This article appeared in the December 19, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 12/19 edition