Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce has announced the launch of Greater ROC Remote, an incentive-based program that seeks to attract remote workers to the Greater Rochester region. The new initiative is one element of a comprehensive regional talent strategy that began in 2019 focused on connecting incumbent residents to economic opportunities, retaining a higher percentage of graduates from the region’s colleges and universities, and attracting world-class talent across all industries. Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce leads regional talent strategy as part of ROC2025, an alliance of economic development organizations dedicated to making Greater Rochester, New York one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing regional economies in the U.S.
Greater ROC Remote offers program participants up to $10,000 in relocation incentives, up to $9,000 in additional homebuyer grants, and tailored programming upon their successful relocation to the Greater Rochester region. Participants are selected through a competitive application process. To be considered, applicants must be currently in a full-time remote position; live a minimum of 300 miles from the City of Rochester; be at least 18 years of age; eligible to work in the U.S.; and able to relocate to Greater Rochester within six months of program acceptance.
Round 1 of Greater ROC Remote will serve as a pilot, with a recruitment target of 25-30 remote workers. Over the next three years, the program seeks to relocate up to 600 participants, not counting significant others, partners, and / or children that may also relocate with participants. Based on an economic impact study commissioned by ROC2025, a fully subscribed program that attracts 600 remote workers would generate between $60 and $90 million in aggregate direct and spillover payroll impacts over the first three years, in addition to new local and state sales and income tax receipts.
“The shift to remote work over the past two years has created new opportunities for places like Greater Rochester,” said Barbara Egenhofer, Director of Talent Strategy at Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. “Regions like ours that offer high quality of life and big-city amenities without the big-city costs can compete for talent in new ways. Innovative programs like Greater ROC Remote can absolutely help us move the needle and grow our labor pool.”
Egenhofer continued: “Greater ROC Remote is a powerful vehicle for recruiting diverse and exciting new talent to our region, introducing new company presence, drawing out-of-town workers from Rochester-based companies, and creating new incentives to retain our region’s college graduates who might live elsewhere. But the impact goes beyond adding spending power to the community. Participants will bring a commitment to our region and a desire to contribute to its forward progress. That’s an investment in our future.”
“Greater ROC Remote can be a critically important piece of Greater Rochester’s regional talent strategy, but it’s only one piece,” noted Joe Stefko, President and CEO of ROC2025. “Attracting talent is important to growing our workforce, but so, too are retaining and connecting the talent that’s already here. That’s why Chamber-led efforts like Greater ROC Careers (greaterroccareers.com) and Campus ROC (campusroc.org) are such vital parts of the regional talent strategy.”
The launch of Greater ROC Remote will be supported initially by a national digital marketing campaign targeting remote workers in high-cost markets, with an emphasis on individuals who have preexisting connections to the Greater Rochester region.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is Greater ROC Remote?
A: Greater ROC Remote is a relocation incentive program that seeks to attract the best and brightest remote workers to Greater Rochester, NY. Participants will receive a $10,000 incentive and be eligible for additional homebuyer grants.
Q: How does Greater ROC Remote support the regional talent strategy?
A: It is only a piece of the regional talent strategy. The strategy seeks to increase economic opportunity and expand the effective size of our regional workforce through a three-pronged approach: Connecting incumbent residents to career opportunities, retaining talent that’s already in-region, and attracting new talent. Alongside Greater ROC Remote, initiatives like Greater ROC Careers and Campus ROC are key elements to our comprehensive workforce strategy.
Q: How many participants does Greater ROC Remote anticipate?
A: This first-round pilot seeks 25-30 participants. Over the next three years, the program will seek up to 600 participants, not counting family members that may relocate with the program participant.
Q: Where did the idea for Greater ROC Remote originate?
A: Greater ROC Remote draws on a host of similar models in regions and states across the country, many of which have been developed to capitalize on the shift to remote work over the past two years. The largest and most well-known program is Tulsa Remote in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Launched in 2018, it has recruited nearly 400 participants and had a regional economic impact of $62 million in 2021.
Q: How will program participants be selected?
A: Greater ROC Remote participants will be selected via competitive application process administered by a selection committee.
Q: When will applicants move to Greater Rochester?
A: The round 1 pilot cohort is anticipated to be selected for relocation to the region by end-2022. All accepted participants will be required to relocate within six months of their selection.
Q: How is the program funded?
A: The costs of the program are being underwritten by ROC2025 and investor partners.