Following the global lockdown, most of those working remotely relocated to more affordable cities or states. Wichita Falls jumps into this trend offering a new program for remote workers.
Since offices shut down for months, most remote workers moved away from big and expensive cities like Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco. Other states such as Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona launched new programs for remote workers. With incentives on taxes and housing expenses, these programs aim to lure remote workers into restarting the local economy.
Wichita Falls is about two hours northwest of Dallas and nearly three hours south of Oklahoma City. The small city counts more than 100,000. Any resident of the town is eligible for the new program for remote workers. The interesting twist of this program is that it targets the companies rather than individual remote workers.
As David Leezer, vice president of Business Attraction for the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, said: “We incentivize the company, not the individual. By state law, we cannot use these funds for individuals, but we can use them for companies and industries. This is what differentiates us from everybody else.”
New Program For Remote Workers Based In Wichita Falls
Companies interested in the program must pay remote workers at least $15 per hour and offer health care benefits. In addition, each remote worker needs to prove that they lived in Wichita Falls for at least six months before getting into the company. For example, contractor positions or businesses like outbound call centers are not eligible.
As Leezer specifies: “We negotiate in advance with the company for the job, and it’s all dependent upon how much they’re going to pay.” Ranging from $3,000 incentive to $5,000 incentive, companies will receive different compensation.
Launched two weeks ago, the program focuses on finding jobs for two key groups:
- Trailing spouses (military spouses): One of their lager employers is Sheppard Air Force Base. For this reason, the program targets army’s sposes looking for a job.
“Our largest employer is Sheppard Air Force Base. We realized that when a member of the service gets transferred, a lot of times, their spouse has to give up a job. We felt that this would be a great asset to help a military spouse, or somebody who’s about ready to retire from the military, to find a job, work remotely and keep them in Wichita Falls.”David Leezer, vice president of Business Attraction for the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce
- Recent graduates of Midwestern State University, the public liberal arts university of the city: As the new generation is more confortable with remote work, students are a major target for the program.
“Like every other community, what we’re trying to focus on is getting those graduates to stay in Wichita Falls. That generation is more comfortable with working remote. We felt that was a great base because Midwestern State graduates a variety of students. They have business majors, marketing majors, engineers and medical personnel. That’s a strong base for us.”David Leezer, vice president of Business Attraction for the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce
Once again, programs for remote workers are a vital strategy to restart and grow local businesses and economies after the COVID-19 outbreak.