GREENSBURG, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The city of Greensburg is offering a unique incentive in an effort to attract more remote workers to relocate. The city has created a program called Grandparents on Demand, which involves local residents providing free babysitting service for new residents and filling in for Grandparents Day at school. Evan Hock, co-founder and chief operating officer of Indianapolis-based MakeMyMove, an online platform connecting remote workers to incentives offered by communities throughout the country, says the city’s efforts are a prime example of the creativity many communities are employing.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Hock said Greensburg is focusing on more than just financial incentives.
“They’re offering $5,000 in cash to help folks relocate, but much of their offer comes down to helping plug new residents into the community,” said Hock. “They offer what they call Seat at the Table, which is they have a table at all the major events in town and invite folks to come and meet the community and plug into the area. It’s easy to say that a community is welcoming and I think Greensburg is really putting their money where their mouth is.”
Tami Wenning, executive director of the Decatur County Community Foundation, and her husband, Dan, have volunteered to serve as stand-in grandparents through the program. The couple plans to assist the first five families that commit to relocating to Greensburg and Wenning says more local grandparents are willing to participate as well.
“I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’m excited to share with the people who want what we have, because what we have is special,” Wenning told the Associated Press. “We’re the perfect place for somebody to raise a family, and I cannot begin to imagine moving away and being in a place where you don’t have that network of people that, in a pinch, you’ve got somebody to rely on.”
Additionally, the city is offering amenities such as free coworking space for a year and free YMCA membership for a year. Hock says since Greensburg began offering its incentives, both the platform and the city have been “bowled over” by the response.
“They’ve had close to 1,500 applications just in the first couple weeks alone,” he said. “When we first launched this, it was somewhat of an experiment. You know, can we pull together a program that resonates? Can we get people’s attention? I think the offer has really struck a chord both in the press – obviously, they’re getting a lot of attention – but I think we’re seeing it in sort of the number and quality of applicants that are coming through. These are high-wage, high-education people.”
MakeMyMove launched in January as more communities began offering incentives to bring in remote workers. Hock says the platform has grown from about 20 communities at launch to more than 50 currently.
“Communities across the country spend about $70 billion every year on economic development. Historically, a lot of that has been spent to recruit companies and I think what economic development corporations and municipalities are realizing is that a lot of those dollars can be directed at recruiting the workers directly on a retail basis.”
Hock says the company is focused on furthering the traction it has seen in the less than a year it’s been in operation.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.