Unveiled by Gov. Jim Justice on April 12, 2021, Ascend WV is new statewide remote work program of West Virginia for remote workers who seeking a high-quality lifestyle in the mountains of West Virginia.
The Ascend WV remote work program will pay chosen applicants $12,000 to relocate to a host city in West Virginia and will provide free outdoor recreation for a year. The first host cities will be Morgantown, Shepherdstown, and Lewisburg with plans to expand across the state. It aims to attract those from across the country who have been moved to work from home permanently.
The Ascend WV program also provides free coworking space where remote workers will have modern amenities to stay connected and access to more than $1,200 in free outdoor gear rentals for use with family and friends. Additionally, participants will be invited to networking events with state business leaders, guided outdoor excursions, and have the chance to earn remote work certifications through WVU along with access to the university’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
West Virginia is the first and only state to harness its natural assets for talent attraction and recruitment, as well as ignite local economies, and continue to fuel entrepreneurial and innovative thinking in West Virginia.
Since the pandemic began just one year ago, nearly 16 million have made the major decision to relocate. West Virginia has an opportunity to attract those looking for a better work-life balance to experience the state’s extraordinary landscapes, roaring rivers, and vibrant small towns. With the average remote worker salary exceeding $90,000, the program stands to generate a lasting economic impact.
Applications for Ascend WV are open for the first 50 spots in the host city of Morgantown. Application windows for the program’s sister cities of Shepherdstown and Lewisburg will be announced at a later date.
Ascend WV is looking for applicants who currently reside outside of West Virginia and are full-time remote workers or who are in positions based outside of West Virginia. Ascend WV is looking for innovative, bright minds drawn to mountain living, the call of Mother Nature and the great outdoors.
On September 2, 2021, Ascend West Virginia announced its inaugural class will soon pack their bags for Morgantown, the program’s first host city. Ascend will provide these pioneers more than $20,000 in incentives – and a path to ‘Almost Heaven.’ The Ascend WV program is now accepting applications for its next host city: Lewisburg.
Ascend’s first class has a diverse background and will bring a wide array of talents to their new community. Though their work spans industries ranging from technology and healthcare to management and manufacturing, they all share in a love for the outdoors.
The 53 class members hail from as far away as Berlin, Germany, and from 21 different U.S. states and the District of Columbia. More applicants will be coming from California than any other state, and the average annual income of those selected is approximately $105,000. Many of the new West Virginians are bringing their families with them; a total of more than 110 people will relocate to the Morgantown area when the inaugural class makes its move.
All Ascend applicants who weren’t selected for the inaugural Morgantown class also got some good news with an offer of $2,500 in mortgage assistance if they move to West Virginia. This offer, provided by Ascend WV in partnership with Rocket Mortgage, is available to all 7,500 people who applied to the program earlier this year.
Ascend’s acceptance rate for its first class was less than 1%, so applicants also were encouraged to resubmit their applications for subsequent classes and/or future locations. The program will welcome more than 1,000 new remote workers to the state over the next five years.