MUNCIE — As remote work continues in many industries, the City of Muncie is taking advantage of a new partnership to welcome remote employees and new residents.
"We have some great employers and outstanding residents, but we feel like we need to come up with some ways to increase our population base, which ultimately increases the number of workers that we have in our area," Mayor Dan Ridenour said. "[That] increases the taxes and it helps us provide the services. It's pretty easy economics to know why it's important to try and grow your population."
Ridenour had seen success with the program MakeMyMove in other cities, including Lafayette, Indiana. He says the pandemic has opened the eyes of some employers to see what can be done from home. Greensburg, Indiana is also partnering with MakeMyMove.
In addition to the partnership, the Muncie Afghan Refugee Resettlement Committee (MARRC) is working to help refugees resettle in Muncie. Ridenour estimates over 40 Afghans are now in the city.
"We're excited about helping fill the employment needs of the employers, adding to our population growth and just welcoming these new neighbors," he said.
MakeMyMove is offering a $5,000 cash incentive to move to Muncie, as well as access to a co-working space, Ball State University's library and a Help Desk.
The city has a goal of recruiting 45 remote workers.
"I know people who have moved here from Chicago, just people who are looking for a different life than the hustle and bustle and high prices that they may pay on the West Coast," Ridenour said.
To qualify, someone must relocate to Muncie within the next 6-12 months, must be self-employed or a full-time employee with remote work privileges and be 18 years or older. You also have to be a U.S. citizen or eligible to work in the U.S.
Both the City of Muncie and the state are contributing $250,000 each to fund the program.
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