Communities interested in learning more about hosting remote workers as part of the 2024 Wilds Are Working program are invited to attend an informational webinar on Wednesday, November 8, at 3:00 p.m. This is a free webinar, but registration is required here.
This campaign seeks to raise awareness about the PA Wilds being a great place for remote and non-remote workers to live, work, and play.
Two communities will be selected to host remote workers for the summer of 2024. The selected communities will each get to host up to five remote workers to spend four weeks in the region, with lodging covered and a stipend provided. The stipend is provided through a PA Wilds Digital Gift Card, which ensures monies are spent with local organizations and businesses in the region.
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 was piloted in the communities of Bellefonte and Kane in 2022. In 2023, the communities of Emporium and Warren were selected through a competitive application process. The 2024 program application opens this fall and responses will be due by December 15.
Your community could host workers and be a part of the Wilds Are Working campaign!
Communities within the Pennsylvania Wilds, 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.
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 up to 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.
Info Session Presenters Include:
- Abbi Peters, COO, PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Co-Founder, Wilds Cooperative of PA + PA Wilds Conservation Shop.
- LaKeshia Knarr, Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Director, PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship
- Ellen Matis, Owner + Integrated Marketing Communications Strategist, Hello Social Co.
Contracted Project Partner: The Wilds Are Working: A Remote Lifestyle Experience Program
- Tina Johns Solak, Executive Director, Cameron County Chamber of Commerce & Artisan Center (Community Lead Organization for Emporium, a 2023 Wilds Are Working Host Community).
- Savannah Casey, Administrative Assistant, Warren County Chamber of Business & Industry (Community Lead Organization for Warren, a 2023 Wilds Are Working Host Community)
Time will be allotted for Q+A about this opportunity.
Join us on Thursday, November 8, at 3:00 p.m.
Venue Zoom (registration required)
Starts Wed Nov 8 2023, 03:00pm EST
Ends Wed Nov 8 2023, 04:00pm EST