He added, "We don't need individuals to move here. We need people who work in the right industries."
In Georgia, the city of Savannah caters specifically to technical professionals. Last June, the Savannah Economic Development Authority announced it would be giving away $ 2,000 to select technicians who have pledged to live in Georgia's third largest city for at least two years. Applicants were required to have at least three years of professional experience and to move from a destination that is at least 100 km from the town hall. "We don't want to steal from our neighbors," said Jen Bonnett, who oversees the program.
City officials view the Savannah Technology Workforce Incentive as an opportunity to import residents that could one day turn Savannah into a technology hub. "When Covid hit, we thought this was a golden opportunity to bring the right people with skills here. When the world opens up again, we will have more skilled workers in our community," said Ms. Bonnett. "If the next tech company wants to move here and hire 30 people, we already want people here who can do the work."
These people are typically young and economically middle class – an age group the city thought was missing. "It's $ 2,000, which is not enough for a graduate, but also not enough for someone looking to move a five-bedroom home from California to Savannah," she said.
So far, 26 recipients and their families have moved to Savannah as part of the program, including Bridget Overson, 41, who lives in Concord, New Hampshire and works in user interaction for Updater, a company that streamlines the move process.
As the pandemic spread, Ms. Overson found she was starving for more space and warmer weather. "I've been to Savannah a couple of times on family vacations and it's a beautiful city," she said. “The weather is great and the property values are incredible. It's such a lovely setting: the parks, the trees, the nature, the history, the culture. "