The rise of remote work across the United States has allowed rural communities to welcome new residents seeking a different kind of lifestyle — that slower-paced lifestyle that can be found in the Pennsylvania Wilds. According to a January 2022 Pew Research Center survey, about 59% of U.S. workers who say their jobs can mainly be done remotely are working from home all or most of the time.
Many communities in the PA Wilds region are well-suited to become long-term homes for workers with flexible jobs, and a program designed to give those individuals and their families a “test run” of life in that community could help to attract and retain them.
Introducing the Wilds Are Working: A Remote Lifestyle Experience
The Wilds Are Working: A Remote Lifestyle Experience campaign seeks to raise awareness about the PA Wilds being a great place for remote and non-remote workers to live, work, and play. An initiative of the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship (PA Wilds Center), in collaboration with several partners and funded by Ben Franklin Technology Partners through the Appalachian Regional Commission, the campaign piloted in the communities of Bellefonte and Kane in 2022.
When open, applications for remote workers are posted to the program website at www.WildsAreWorking.com.
Do you have a genuine enthusiasm for your community, wanting others to be able to experience life in your town? Do you think that if people were to have a chance to test out living in your community they might choose to relocate there long-term? As the Wilds Are Working: A Remote Lifestyle Experience has…
PA Wilds campaign encourages relocation to, working from region’s communities Program seeks to tackle challenges related to rural outmigration A new campaign being launched this year in the PA Wilds could have positive impacts for many communities across the rural region. The Wilds Are Working: Recreation and Technology in Rural PA campaign seeks to raise…
Details on Being a Host Community
Your community could host workers and be a part of the Wilds Are Working campaign, too.
Communities within the Pennsylvania Wilds Landscapes, covering a 13-county region of Northern Pennsylvania, may be eligible to host remote workers through this program. The following are requirements to be considered:
- Suitable accommodations for long-term workers, that include full kitchens, Wi-Fi, and ample living space. These can include local vacation rentals and bed & breakfast properties.
- Community access to high-speed internet, both in residential and public areas (like coffee shops or coworking spaces).
- Mobile phone coverage for a variety of carriers.
- Ample opportunities for recreation, events, and activities within a reasonable proximity.
- Staff or volunteers able to dedicate time to project management, including program set up time (using a guided toolkit), application management, and more.
- A group of friendly and knowledgeable volunteers ready to host workers and help them make the most of their experience.
Wilds Are Working Webinar for Prospective Host Communities
With an eye toward tackling the challenges that come with outmigration and a dwindling tax base, the Wilds Are Working campaign seeks to empower workers to try out living, working, and giving in the PA Wilds communities for 2-4 weeks with a hope that some of those participants will decide to work in the region full-time.
Modeled after case studies emerging from across Appalachia and the nation, this program is one of many that rural communities are implementing to incentivize and stimulate revitalization. Building on the movement, the Rural Outdoor Investment (ROI) Act looks to allocate $50 million annually to fund infrastructure improvements and similar marketing campaigns to help towns across the country plan and build recreation-based economies.
While you wait ...
Want to get your community more prepared for participation? There are a few requirements for communities to participate, in order to ensure the businesses there are able to benefit from the program. A key component of this program is the Shop the PA Wilds Digital Community Gift Card - which you can take advantage of now. Remote workers typically receive a stipend to spend while living in the community, and this stipend is provided via one of these gift cards. And the gift cards can only be redeemed at participating businesses.
- Encourage your local businesses to join the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania (WCO), a network of more than 400 businesses that are promoted as part of the regional experience. Membership is FREE! Learn more here. You can easily peruse our Member Directory here to see which businesses are already in the program.
- Once businesses are in the program, help them activate their business with the Shop the PA Wilds Digital Community Gift Card. Once businesses are members, they can log into their accounts and access the member-only Branding Assets page to easily sign up!