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A new program announced Wednesday aims to bring people to the Charleston area who can work remotely or are employed in certain key industries.

The Charleston Roots Initiative is designed for remote workers who have the ability to relocate anywhere while maintaining their current jobs, according to the program’s website.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, presently live outside a 50-mile radius of Charleston, be a full-time employed remote worker or a person seeking to fill a high-demand job within Charleston’s key industries. Key industries are listed specifically as manufacturing, nursing, medical, public sector, technology and programming, but the selection committee will review and consider any workers in unlisted industries that could be deemed key to the area economy.

The incentive package includes up to a $5,000 payment — $2,500 paid upon verification of local address and full-time employment, and $2,500 paid six months after the first disbursement of funds, again with verification.

The program also offers mentorship and networking opportunities, and local experiences and memberships tailored to applicants’ lifestyles, according to the website. There’s also $1,000 available for West Virginians who recruit a family member or friend to return to Charleston.

“With the rise in remote working opportunities and West Virginia’s impressive COVID-19 response, Charleston possesses a great opportunity for business and talent growth,” said Steve Rubin, interim president of the Charleston Area Alliance. “People are already choosing Charleston’s low cost of living and access to recreation, dining and unique experiences, and this program provides an added incentive for those considering the move.”

The city of Charleston and the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau also will be involved in implementing the program.

“Charleston is uniquely positioned to provide big-city amenities while also being a mecca for outdoor recreation,” Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said. “Remote workers can come to Charleston and live affordably and find activities to fit every lifestyle. We are also excited to work with companies looking to engage those in high-demand positions.”

The program application may be found on the alliance’s website. More information on the Charleston Roots Initiative, what life is like in Charleston and a link to available local jobs also may be found on the nonprofit’s website.

The incentive program is limited to one award per household.

Anyone with questions is asked to contact the alliance’s vice president of communications and development, Jordan Ferrell, at jferrell

Reach Joe Severino at, 304-348-4814 or follow

@jj_severino on Twitter.

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