Luray And Harrisonburg Plan To Attract Remote Workers

Attract remote workers luray and Harrisonburg
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The Town of Luray and the City of Harrisonburg were selected as two of five communities throughout the state to participate in the Virginia Main Street Work from Home Pilot Initiative.

The state-funded project grants towns $10,000 in grant studies from the National Main Street Center and data to help them develop a strategic strategy to recruit remote employees.

“At the end of June we’ll get preliminary findings from the Main Street team and then we’ll work with them throughout the summer with the final report in September.”

Pierce Macgill, Assistant Director of Economic Development, Harrisonburg

Once the final study is completed, the city and the local nonprofit Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance will have to decide what to do with the information and how to effectively target remote workers in order to bring them to Harrisonburg.

“Look at strengths and weaknesses and how we can best promote the city to try and attract remote workers and also we want to take a look at where we should be targeting. Should we be targeting Washington D.C. or Baltimore? So we can develop a strategic plan before we start investing.”

Pierce Macgill, Assistant Director of Economic Development, Harrisonburg

“Many people have relocated to this area. They worked in Northern Virginia, their jobs now allow them to come out here, they could live here and work during the pandemic. Now it seems like that is going to be a permanent thing for a lot of folks. We are assessing opportunities to have actual co-work spaces available for folks. If they would like to be able to go to a co-workspace here in Luray they could go to that work space during the day and work.”

Jackie Elliot, Program Director, Luray Downtown Initiative

The Luray Downtown Initiative is also collaborating with the municipality on a community survey to determine the requirements of those who work from home.

Elliot anticipates that the investigation and report will be completed by September, allowing Luray to implement its strategic strategy and begin bringing in additional remote employees.

According to Macgill, there are several benefits for remote workers coming to the city.

“One thing I think that often gets overlooked is the trailing spouse. You might have a remote worker come to Harrisonburg and they’re working for a tech company in a big city but their spouse comes here and maybe ends up working in our public schools. So we do get a benefit overall for our labor force which we greatly need right now.”

Pierce Macgill, Assistant Director of Economic Development, Harrisonburg

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