What better way to survive a pandemic than to do it on a beach in Hawaii?
For anyone who finds the idea dreamy, Hawaii is offering free round trip tickets to Oahu island to out-of-state remote workers who want to live and work there while contributing to the state’s economy.
In collaboration with schools and businesses, the state initiated the temporary residency program known as “Movers and Shakas.” By December 15, it will accept the first group of applicants.
“Movers and Shakas is a small step towards economic recovery and diversifying our economy,” Jason Higa, the group’s founder, said.
“The pandemic,” he said, “has normalized remote work for the foreseeable future, so we believe this situation presents an opportunity for local residents to return home, and for out of state professionals to experience Hawaii, not as tourists, but as contributing members of our community.”
For the first cohort, fifty people will be selected. Later, on a rolling basis, applications would be accepted. You must be a remote worker and be at least 18 years old to apply. Participants must move within one month of being selected and must stay in Hawaii for a minimum of 30 consecutive days.
“Hawaii currently has the lowest rate per capita of COVID-19 infections in the country, also making it one of the safest places to live and work,” according to the program’s news release.
Not just a getaway
Although spending your days off soaking in the sun may sound like paradise, “Movers and Shakas” is looking specifically for people who want to contribute to the local communities of Hawaii.
Those accepted into the program are expected to dedicate a few hours per week to a non-profit where their knowledge and skills could be used. While remote workers from around the world will be welcomed by the program, it is also targeted towards former Hawaii residents who want to return.
One of the central goals of the initiative is to help diversify the economy.
“Beyond bringing in valuable dollars into our local businesses, the real value is bringing talented knowledge workers who will both help to build our communities through volunteer work and to make our economy more resilient,” said a founder of Movers & Shakas. “While the pandemic is an enormous crisis, it also presents Hawaii with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to diversify our economy.”