NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The Northwest Arkansas Council is offering a cash bonus of $10,000 (along with a new bike or museum membership) to entice out-of-state workers to the region amid a “shortage of talent to fill STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) positions.”
The Life Works Here initiative will offer recipients a $10,000 grant and either a bike or a free annual membership to a local museum — Crystal Bridges, the Momentary, Amazeum, TheatreSquared, Walton Arts Center or Walmart AMP.
“With one of the best costs of living, plentiful outdoor lifestyle perks, nationally ranked arts, culture and cuisine scenes, and per capita income that’s 14% higher than the national average, the Northwest Arkansas region offers a unique opportunity to create balance for those eager to move from congested and expensive larger cities and suburbs,” the Northwest Arkansas Council says in its pitch to potential applicants.
To be eligible, applicants must:
- Have the ability to relocate to Northwest Arkansas within six months of acceptance
- Sign a lease for local housing (Benton & Washington Counties)
- Be at least 24 years old
- Have at least two years of work experience
- Have full-time remote employment (which includes self-employment)
- Currently reside outside of the state of Arkansas
- Be a U.S. citizen or have the necessary credentials required to work legally in the U.S.
Recipients will be selected by a Northwest Arkansas Council review panel, who will evaluate individual applicants and interview candidates.
The initiative does not offer employment but is intended for people who have the ability to work remotely in their current job.
According to the council, there are currently 10,000 job openings in Northwest Arkansas and a shortage of talent to fill available STEAM positions.
“We want to attract talent who will help us build a richer long-term talent pipeline that supports our thriving local economy,” according to a Q&A posted on the Northwest Arkansas Council website.
The NWA Council has invested more than $1 million over six months for the Life Works Here initiative, but it says it’s unclear how many will be available
“We don’t have a firm number in mind. This is a pilot right now. After the initial feedback and results are reviewed, we’ll determine whether to extend the program,” according to the Council’s website.