Jay and Nikki Forde are from Seattle, Washington and moved to Johnstown last year.
“Seattle has been very good to us. We lived there, raised our kids there. But we’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle,” said Jay.
Since they run a website design business from home, they were able to switch to calm and quiet.
“It gives us a chance to literally work from anywhere. With a laptop, a phone, and some internet connection, my job follows me,”
So, they chose a simpler life with a lower cost of living and far less traffic.
“We love it so far. Our neighbors have been fantastic. We’ve just been having a great time,” Nikki said.
This is something that’s been happening all over the United States, according to Amy Bradley, President and CEO of the Cambria Regional Chamber.
“There’s this trend of people wanting to leave bigger cities where it’s more crowded and has a higher cost of living,” she said.
The combination of remote working and the desire to live smaller caused organizations in Cambria and Somerset counties to act.
They launched the “Work from Home Cambria-Somerset Initiative,” encouraging remote workers to move here.
“We felt like the Cambria-Somerset region has so much to offer in terms of a really high quality of life, lots of great outdoor activities, but also a low cost of living,” Bradley said.
Those who move can get $5,000 dollars.
Each accepted candidate will receive $2,500 cash to offset moving expenses and another $2,500 in a customized package of benefits.
That might include getting free tickets to see the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra or throwing out the first pitch at a Johnstown Mill Rats baseball game.
“We thought it was a great time to reach out and try to get people who are remote workers who might be thinking about relocating — to think about Cambria and Somerset counties,”
The initiative is a collaboration between the Cambria Regional Chamber of Commerce, Somerset County Chamber of Commerce, Vision Together 2025, and Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.
Bradley said this is the perfect time for the initiative, since COVID-19 has made ‘working from home’ a new normal for many.