Chamber recruiting remote workers to move here, work there

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce is recruiting people and families across the country who work remotely.

They keep their jobs but do them from here. And money to move is part of the incentive. 

 “Before here I lived in Louisville, Kentucky,” Ryan English said. 

 Now English, a remote-working software engineer, lives with his wife and daughter in Irondequoit. The schools were a big attraction. 

 “I don’t know if you guys have looked at the Kentucky schools systems,” he said. “But they’re subpar.”

 “We lived in Orlando,” said Mea Page. “Now we live in Rochester.” 

 Page and her wife Kat traveled the country looking for a place to relocate. They wanted a coastal feel and then saw Lake Ontario. 

 “And you can’t see the other side of the lake so it feels like an ocean,” Kat said.

 What really got them here was the incentive package from the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Greater Roc Remote was born out of the pandemic and gives anywhere from $10,000 to $19,000 to help relocate families that qualify. People have to be at least 18, work remotely, and live 300 miles away or in a different state. 

 “We’ve had a lot of interest from downstate New York actually,” said Melanie DellaPietra. She helps run the program. “So if you’re already paying New York State taxes come up here, get your lower cost of living and easy ability to buy a home.”

 Brean: “How do you feel about the move so far?”

 Ryan English: “I love it here. Still getting used to this weather even though, funny enough, I hear this is an abnormal winter, but for me, this is a huge winter.” 

 The Pages were married in Florida in 2015. Living in New York protects that. 

 Kat Page: “When we first came here the first place we went to was basically a queer-friendly coffee shop. And after that, we were like yeah, we belong someplace like here.”

 Brean: “You feel safe here?”

 Kat: “Yes.” 

 Mea: “Yeah, we can actually be a couple here in Rochester. In other states, we’re just friends.”

 People can move to any of the nine counties in the Finger Lakes. The incentives can be bigger if you move to the city or a rural zip code. All the money is privately donated to the chamber. More than 2,000 people have applied from every state except South Dakota for some reason. 34 families have moved here. The goal is another 100 by Christmas.