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Economy

50 Selected To Move to Morgantown in First Round Of State’s Ascend Program 

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Fifty people were selected for the West Virginia Division of Tourism’s new Ascend program. The program offers out-of-state residents a package worth more than $20,000 to relocate to the state.

In April, West Virginia put out a call --- move to the state, work remotely and get free stuff. About 7,500 people responded to the offer and applied to live in Morgantown.

Ascend applicants who were not chosen to relocate to Morgantown were offered $2,500 in mortgage assistance if they still move to West Virginia.

The program is now accepting applications for people who want to move to Lewisburg. Those who are interested will need to resubmit an application for Lewisburg or other locations.

Brad Smith, executive chairman of Intuit’s board of directors and Wayne County native, is helping to finance the project. Smith’s goal is to reverse the state’s trend of losing population and attract new residents. He also hopes to distinguish the benefits of living in West Virginia from other places that offer similar programs. Smith says the outdoor recreation in the Mountain State is unique.

The Ascend Program offers $12,000, outdoor recreation passes and working space.

The first 50 residents are expected to move to the state this fall. The Ascend program plans to accept 1,000 remote workers over the next five years. It began before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has magnified the desire and ability to work remotely.


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