The coronavirus pandemic has made remote work more than a temporary trend across the country. Many individuals and businesses are realizing work can be done from anywhere.
So why not from paradise?
A grassroots organization in Hawaii hopes to take advantage of the change by bringing new residents to the state.
Movers and Shakas is a new program launched this week to attract professionals to the Aloha State. It is seeking those who will give something back to the community in exchange for relocating to Hawaii.
The program launched Sunday, with the first 50 qualified applicants receiving a free round trip to Oahu. Program participants will be expected to move to Hawaii and will receive access to promotions and special program benefits.
Future applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis, and the program will expand to other islands at a later date.
“We wanted to help fill the gap from the decrease we’ve experienced in the 7-day visitors to our state,” Jason Higa, CEO of FCH Enterprises, said in a statement. “Now that many people have the choice to work remotely, there’s an opportunity for former local residents to return home and for out-of-state individuals and families to live and work from Hawaii for a longer period of time.”
Higa is one of several business leaders spearheading the movement, along with state and local governments. Other founding members include Central Pacific Bank Hawaii Foundation, Hawai’i Executive Collaborative, Island Holdings, and Inkinen and Associates.
“We believe this program will attract many former Hawaii residents and professionals seeking a safe, warm environment to continue living their normal lives while contributing to the Hawaii community,” Higa said.
Movers and Shakas participants will receive discounts on month-to-month accommodations, flights, restaurants, attractions, and other services they need while living in Hawaii. Participants will also have access to networking opportunities.
In exchange, applicants are required to commit several hours each week to a nonprofit and take the Pledge to Our Keiki, making a commitment to respect the state's culture and natural resources.
The group’s first nonprofit partner is The Girl Scouts of Hawaii.
Those who are interested have until December 15 to apply for the first 50 slots in the program.