Remote Worker Program Drawing Talent to Bloomington

by Aug 12, 2021

We’re about eight weeks into our Bloomington Remote program to entice remote workers to relocate to Bloomington. And we have to tell you: it’s going like gangbusters. After eight weeks, over 100 people have applied or expressed interest. We’ve met some very cool people, arranged several visits to Bloomington, and extended four offers—all accepted!

We knew a program to attract remote workers to Bloomington was a good idea, but even we are a little surprised by how quickly it’s taking off. To date, Bloomington Remote applicants come from 20 states and 9 countries. Some are techies and startup CEOs; others are creatives and freelancers. They’re fascinating people! We’re thrilled to get to know them and to welcome them into our community.

Launched in June 2021, the Bloomington Remote program offers free lifetime coworking membership to The Mill. In addition, we provide expert relocation assistance from our exclusive partnership with Century 21 Global Mobility and local onboarding supports.

A new form of Economic Development

“Several cities and regions in Indiana are developing or already offer programs to attract remote workers as part of their economic development initiatives,” said Pat East, Executive Director of The Mill. “We think Bloomington can be a leader for the state in talent attraction.” Remote workers earn an average salary of $91,000. In fact, they contribute an average of $11,000 to the local tax base and $50,000 in consumer spending. And that’s just in the first year of relocation! Remote workers also bring talent to our community, and put Bloomington on the map for their peers and their employers.

We’re using the Bloomington Remote pilot to test the incentives and supports that will be most effective at attracting and onboarding new residents. Once we meet our benchmarks for success, the City of Bloomington has committed funds to help expand the program. We worked with Aaron Bolzle, creator of Tulsa’s groundbreaking remote worker program, to design our offer.

You may be surprised to learn that applicants to the program don’t necessarily have Bloomington connections. Only about a third of applicants have been here (as a native, as a college student, or as a visitor). Roughly another third have been to Indiana, but not to Bloomington. The remaining third have never been to Indiana at all.


Pablo F & Sarah M are a married couple who both work remotely in Texas. Pablo is an experienced entrepreneur who has started several companies and had an exit. His current startup is a custom AI-powered geospatial application, which employs 15 people (who all work remotely). He’s excited to hire Kelley and Luddy students for internships and entry-level positions as his company continues to grow. Sarah is a native Hoosier who grew up in Bloomington. She’s a freelance graphic designer who specializes in user interface and web design. They’re looking forward to taking full advantage of living in a college town where they are close to family and can connect with people who have similar career interests.

Austin H is a full stack engineer who currently lives in Washington state. He grew up in western Illinois and is looking to live closer to home, but not too close. He’s drawn to Bloomington because of the natural surroundings and diverse religious associations. He’s also impressed with the ethnic dining scene and prevalence of small businesses in the community. Finally, he’s looking for a vibrant Midwestern town that’s more affordable than the West Coast.

Phil C is a financial analyst who has worked for a Big 4 accounting firm, an international Japanese bank, and currently, a young fintech company. Though he’s been living in New York City, he prefers smaller cities. He’s been hesitant to move to the Midwest without knowing anyone, so the coworking community at The Mill is a big plus. He’s also looking forward to a lower cost of living with access to a range of restaurants, a lively downtown area, and live sports at IU and Indianapolis.

Taylor S is a senior designer for the Washington Post. She grew up in a college town in Pennsylvania, and her husband is from Crown Point, Indiana, near Chicago (he works for National Geographic). They currently live in Washington DC. They miss the pace and close-knit nature of a smaller city, and they’ve heard good things about Bloomington. In addition, Taylor is looking forward to connecting with local design community and hopes to volunteer for IU’s strong student AIGA chapter.

What’s Next?

We can’t wait to see what our Bloomington Remote participants bring to our community! There are so many opportunities to connect and collaborate with the cool folks who are already here. Yes, tax dollars are good. But what we really love is the new energy, new ideas, and new mojo this program will bring. Over the coming weeks, we’ll conduct more interviews to fill the rest of our 10 seats in this first cohort.

Learn more about why The Mill launched Bloomington Remote.

Explore the Bloomington Remote program.

Contact Melissa Ward, Head of Initiatives and Partnerships, to learn more about becoming a sponsor or contributing to the incentive and welcome package of goods and services.