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College towns lure out-of-state workers to live and work in Indiana

Incentive packages can includes cash, dining credits, access to campus WiFi, gym memberships and discounts on housing and continuing education.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Two college towns are capitalizing on the pandemic-related trend of working "out of office."

They're recruiting people from out of state to live and work in Indiana.

Near Purdue's campus, Work From Purdue is offering a new community for remote workers.

It aims to lure 100 people to live and work in the new Discovery Park District.

They're looking for highly skilled free agents nationwide, who are free to pick up and move wherever they choose.

"So they're attracting tech workers, engineers, software people, product people, designers to come and live in this first-of-its kind community," said Evan Hock, cofounder of MakeMyMove.

The incentive package includes $4,000 in cash, a $1,000 dining credit, access to campus WiFi, gym memberships and discounts on housing and continuing education.

Who pays for all that?

You do, in part.

MakeMyMove said it's a mix of private dollars and state and local money.

Hock said last year's pilot program at Purdue showed people do want to move to Indiana.

"Now that people can live wherever they want and bring their job with them, they're voting with their feet," Hock said, "and a lot of people are choosing the Midwest and Indiana, specifically, because of everything we have to offer."

Another college town, Bloomington, has a slightly similar program already in place and already 19 people have moved and become Hoosiers.

Credit: WTHR

The incentive in Bloomington is a three-year membership at The Mill, a coworking space for startups and entrepreneurs, worth about $7,000. Plus, remote workers get connections to nonprofits and networking groups, to become invested in the community.

Julie Sylvester is the program manager of The Mill and helps select the recruits.

"We have people from California who are looking for a better cost of living and a larger yard for a family and pets," Sylvester said. "We have people who are from the East Coast. We have people coming here because they went to undergrad at Indiana University and they want to move back."

Several hundred people applied last year.

A visit weekend is set for June for new potential candidates, to show what Bloomington has to offer.

Credit: WTHR

"We can't say enough good things about the culture, the art community the music, the restaurants," Sylvester said.

She said a lot of remote workers want a small-town feel with some big city amenities. College towns in Indiana often fit the bill.

Several Indiana communities have partnered with MakeMyMove to incentivize out-of-state workers to move to their cities. To see the list, click here

Learn more about the new program at Purdue University and the Discovery Park District by clicking here.


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