If you’ve ever thought about a move to the Ozarks, you’re not alone.
More than 26,000 people have applied for a program that will pay them to move to northwest Arkansas.
The Northwest Arkansas Council’s “Life Works Here” program is offering the money to remote workers willing to move to the region, Fox News previously reported. The program will also provide the new residents with a bicycle to enjoy the region’s miles of trails or a membership to a local art or cultural institution.
The program has already selected its first 25 recipients, it announced this week. They include an executive chef and James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow from Atlanta, a digital marketing manager from Denver, a music producer and “creative community curator” from Los Angeles, a gaming producer from Los Angeles and a cloud technology manager from San Francisco, according to the announcement.
“This first wave of new talent to the northwest Arkansas region generated by the ‘Life Works Here’ campaign is just a sampling of the exceptional individuals we’ve been able to attract to our region with the incentive program,” Northwest Arkansas Council CEO Nelson Peacock said in a press release.
Peacock said the group had been “overwhelmed by the unbelievable response.” The applicants included people from all 50 states and more than 115 countries.
“This program is not only a benefit to the recipients and new talent for our region, but it also contributes to the vibrancy of our existing, growing market and our local economy,” he said.
The program launched last November, thanks to support from the Walton Family Foundation. It had $1 million to offer to new residents and the program is still accepting applicants.
“Professionals all over the country are starting to see the benefits of life in the Heartland and Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas are at the top of the list,” Steuart Walton said in a press release. “This region welcomes innovators and thought leaders to a community defined by world-class biking, cultural experiences and a true entrepreneurial spirit.”
The area isn’t just known for its recreation opportunities. It’s also home to the headquarters of major businesses like Walmart, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt Transport Services.
To qualify for the program, one needs to be able to move within six months, sign a lease for local housing or buy a home, be 24 or older, have at least two years of work experience and be employed full time. Candidates must also be US citizens or be able to work legally in the US and currently live outside Arkansas.
Ideal candidates will also be STEAM professionals or entrepreneurs, according to the program’s website. And they’re looking for people “who will add to the vibrancy of our community.”
The announcement comes the same week that a similar program in Tulsa, Oklahoma announced that it was renewing itself and offering $10,000 up front for new residents who buy a home in the city. Previously, the Tulsa Remote program had only paid out the money in installments over the course of a year.