FLORENCE — Money from the Shoals Economic Development Fund soon could be used to entice high-tech workers into relocating to the Shoals.
The Shoals Economic Development Authority Board on Tuesday unanimously approved recommending dedicating up to $175,000 toward the Remote Worker Incentive Pilot Program.
New board member Joel Anderson II proposed the program, which would pay someone $6,000 to $10,000 to locate in the Shoals if they have a high-tech job that allows them to work from anywhere.
"These tend to be high-earning jobs," Anderson said.
He said Tulsa, Oklahoma, started a similar program and provided funding for 25 jobs. The result: The city received 10,000 applications. Tulsa then expanded it to 100 jobs.
Anderson said the idea was suggested by a friend who lives in the Shoals and has a job with an out-of-town company that allows him to work anywhere.
The proposal must be approved by the Shoals Industrial Development Committee at its March 28 meeting.
Under the proposal, applicants must move to the Shoals within six months and have a full-time job or be self-employed outside the area.
Funding would be distributed over the course of a year. That includes 25 percent to help with relocation costs, 25 percent after living in the Shoals for six months and 50 percent after a year.
Reimbursement amounts range from $6,000 a year for someone who earns $25 to $29 an hour or $52,000 to $62,379 a year, to $10,000 for someone earning at least $60 dollars an hour or $124,000 a year, according to the plan.
Applicants would go through a selection process that includes a video interview and a visit to the Shoals.
The Shoals Chamber of Commerce would be involved in the program, providing applicants with tours and helping find housing.
Applications would be made on shoalsremote.com. Anderson said it would take about a month to set up the website.
Adam Himber, SEDA's existing industry coordinator, said the program would start on May 1.
"It's creating a paycheck in our community," Himber said. "It's creating a job. It's just that the employer is not coming into the community."