Community leaders meet in New Haven, Indiana to celebrate new remote worker recruitment project.

Jan 24, 2023

Two dozen Indiana cities leveraged public & private dollars to launch efforts to recruit remote workers in 2022; New Haven latest to launch

By Cheryl Reed

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (January 18, 2022) – More than two dozen Indiana cities have tapped into new funding pools created to help them recruit out-of-state remote workers to Indiana. Those efforts will bring more than 500 new Hoosiers and more than $40 million in annual economic impact to the state, according to MakeMyMove, a talent recruitment company working with the communities and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

New Haven is the first Indiana city to tap into each of three available funding channels for remote worker recruitment. City and state officials involved celebrated the launch of the Allen County city’s remote worker recruitment program today.

“We’re all-in on using this support to recruit new city residents and support continued investment into these efforts statewide,” said New Haven Mayor Steven McMichael, who expects to add 18 new households to his population base by working with Indianapolis-based MakeMyMove using state and local funding.

“The rise in remote work has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity for communities to address their talent needs,” said MakeMyMove COO Evan Hock, crediting New Haven with working creatively to access investment funds. “Other cities grappling with population loss or talent needs can learn a lot from New Haven in terms of creative ways to invest as well as ways to incent remote workers to join them. This public-private collaboration is a model for other states to follow.”

Indiana’s remote worker recruitment program is a novel approach to economic development and one made even more important as experts estimate that the global human talent shortage will reach 85 million people by 2030. In Indiana, workforce shortages are caused in part by population declines, retirements within the Baby Boomer generation – disproportionately larger than any other generation of Americans – and fewer young workers available to replace them. MakeMyMove is the only marketplace that matches remote workers to communities across the country offering relocation incentives and was instrumental in pushing the state to help support the effort. More than 40 million Americans are expected to be fully remote in the next five years.

Indiana lawmakers in April 2022 passed and Governor Eric Holcomb enacted a new state law - Senate Enrolled Act 361 – that allows city leaders to secure funding for talent attraction and retention activities through local tax increment financing dollars. The IEDC provided $1.5 million in matching funds for Indiana mayors and economic development corporations to use to bolster their talent recruitment and retention initiatives. The program proved so popular, the IEDC added another $1 million to the matching fund element.

“As the state focuses on growing our population and bolstering our communities, the IEDC is excited to support initiatives like MakeMyMove, which has already proven successful in attracting talent to Indiana, impacting both metropolitan and rural areas,” said Tony Denhart, EVP of Workforce and Talent for the IEDC. We look forward to continuing to partner on programs like this that will help build our workforce of the future.”

Mayor McMichael seeded his program with $50,000 made available through the new legislation. The IEDC tripled that to give the city a total recruitment budget of $200,000. About half of the budget will be distributed as incentives to the remote workers. The other half funds marketing expenses and services provided by MakeMyMove that include locating and recruiting the new citizens.

New Haven’s incentive package will continue to grow and include more elements that highlight the many amenities of the city. The current package includes $5,000 for relocation, pool passes, free coffee, a Chamber membership and quarterly Meet Your Neighbor events.

New Haven is just one of the more than two dozen Hoosier communities working with MakeMyMove to recruit remote workers, 22 of which are also leveraging IEDC dollars to boost their efforts.

Henry County, for example, in east central Indiana is the main setting of the novel Raintree County by Ross Lockridge Jr. Its $11,000 incentive package for remote workers includes $5,000 in cash for relocation along with free co-working space for a year, free Internet for a year in some locations, a free gym membership, passes to local recreational/entertainment venues and youth sports registration, among other local access passes. Icing on the cake? $200 worth of ice cream and treats.

Crawfordsville, just 50 miles west of Indianapolis, also offers $5,000 cash and local amenities but sweetens its nearly $8,000 relocation package with a year of free primary health care, dinner with the mayor and a podcast interview with him, a seat on a local non-profit board of directors and season tickets to Wabash College football games.

“As Hoosiers ourselves, we’re thrilled to help the state grow,” Hock said. “The best part of our job is when these wonderful communities see themselves with fresh eyes, and we can tell their unique stories to the millions of people thinking of making a move. It’s like an updated and supercharged welcome wagon, and it’s already yielded hundreds of new residents.”