A program designed to bring high-tech workers to the Shoals appears to be creating interest, with some 85 people applying for the opportunity thus far.

The "Remote Shoals" program, which officially launched June 4, offers up to $10,000 each for a remote employee in the high-tech field to move to the Shoals.

The Shoals Chamber of Commerce and Shoals Economic Development Authority joined forces to create the program, and SEDA has set aside $100,000 for it in hopes of getting 10 people to move here.

SEDA President Kevin Jackson said the program will have another marketing push in August. He said SEDA has a University of North Alabama intern, Mackenzie Cottles, who is doing a good job of reaching people from across the nation via social media and other avenues.

Jackson said they are tweaking the application process so that prospective applicants don't have to fill out a questionnaire first.

"We'll see if we can drive some more applications," he said. "We know have 10 now. We just want to get our best 10."

Jackson said the next step after the August drive is to narrow the applicants and have them come to the Shoals for a visit. He said the chamber will help coordinate that aspect.

Jackson said there is not a specific time frame for when they want to start the visits.

"We want to move pretty quickly once we get the next group of applicants," he said.

The 85 applicants are from 12 states, Jackson said. He listed California, Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, New Mexico and Arizona among them.

"It's pretty spread out," Jackson said.

He said the applicants have listed Alabama's mild climate and the Shoals' low cost of living among reasons for interest in moving here. Others have said they have family members nearby.

Many people in high-tech fields work in large cities that have high costs of living.

SEDA is seeking people in tech-related jobs, such as web design, graphic design, software engineering, computer programming and digital marketing. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, earn at least $52,000 annually, be eligible to work in the United States, and live outside the Shoals.

The program includes a website, RemoteShoals.com, that has testimonials from Shoals residents who are remote workers. The residents list numerous reasons to live and raise a family here, including low cost of living, arts, vibe, pace, low taxes, culture and the Tennessee River.

Reimbursement is based on income and starts at $6,000 with a maximum of $10,000, officials said. One-fourth of the reimbursement is presented to help pay for relocation. The next 25 percent will be provided after the person has lived here for six months, and the final 50 percent will be provided after a full year.

Officials said documentation, such as rental payments or utilities bills, is involved to make sure the person is residing in the Shoals.

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski


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