Startup Tucson Aims to Recruit Remote Workers to Tucson

By Tara Kirkpatrick

You’re already working a high-paying job remotely. Why not do it in Tucson?

If the beautiful blue skies and 300-plus days of sunshine don’t convince you, there’s also affordable housing, limitless outdoor recreation, cultural spotlights and all-around better living in our City of Wellness.

It’s the motivation behind a bold, new campaign called Remote Tucson, launched this fall to lure successful remote workers to Southern Arizona, offering them a retreat from pandemic-hit big cities while also bolstering younger demographics, and ultimately, the local economy. 

“Remote work is here to stay in some form or another,” said Liz Pocock, CEO of Startup Tucson, a community nonprofit committed to fueling small business and entrepreneurship. “Unlike traditional talent attraction, for this program, workers will stay employed in their current positions, allowing them to continue to have pull in outside markets and maximizing their lifetime economic impact in Tucson.”

Tucson is among several cities vying to recruit highly paid, remote workers who may be looking to flee big cities after the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote Tucson estimates each worker’s individual economic contribution amounts to more than $32,000 for basics, entertainment and business – an estimated local impact of more than $3.2 million, based on a goal of 100 recruits. The pilot program this fall will start with 10.

“They won’t only be funneling outside dollars into our economy, but by not replacing current opportunities for local residents, these new residents result in net positive growth for Tucson,” Pocock said. 

The initiative’s targeted recruits are workers aged 21 to 45 years old who live in cities with direct flights or cities drivable to Tucson. Working in high tech sectors is a plus. Interested talent would apply to the Remote Tucson program and if accepted, receive guidance, networking and incentives intended to help them make a soft landing here. 

“We are thrilled that Startup Tucson is launching this program and the timing couldn’t be more perfect,” said Barbra Coffee, director of economic initiatives for the City of Tucson. “The pandemic has created more interest in the idea of choosing where you want to live, if you can work from anywhere, and when someone chooses Tucson, they can be sure we have the ecosystem in place to successfully support them.”  

“Even before COVID, Tucson was being recognized nationally as an up-and-coming hot spot for those looking for a different quality of life and lower cost of living than available in large metros like Silicon Valley,” Pocock said. “Now is the time to take advantage of this national attention.”

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