With promises of a $10,000 incentive for moving to Northwest Arkansas, the “Life Works Here” program attracted significant national press and resulted in thousands of applications from professionals eager to make the jump to the Natural State.
Since its announcement in November 2020, the Northwest Arkansas Council has received more than 26,000 applications from applicants, spanning 115 countries and all 50 states. In the first round of recipients, the NWA Council accepted 25 applicants, who will be moving to Northwest Arkansas and receiving the $10,000 cash bonus, along with a street/mountain bike or an annual membership to a local arts or cultural institution.
According to the NWA Council, the recipients represent a wide range of professions, from the arts to technology to the culinary industries. The recipients include an executive chef and James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow from Atlanta, Ga.; a digital marketing manager from Denver, Colo.; a music producer and creative community curator from Los Angeles, Calif.; a gaming producer from Los Angeles; and a cloud technology manger from San Francisco, Calif.
“Professionals all over the country are starting to see the benefits of life in the Heartland, and Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas are at the top of the list,” Steuart Walton said in a statement. “This region welcomes innovators and thought leaders to a community defined by world-class mountain biking, cultural experiences and a true entrepreneurial spirit.”
As part of the program, the recipients are asked to help grow the local Northwest Arkansas community and economy. They will also be asked to participate in marketing campaigns to attract other talent to relocate to the region.
“This first wave of new talent to the Northwest Arkansas region generated by the “Life Works Here” campaign is just a sampling the exceptional individuals we’ve been able to attract to our region with the incentive program,” NWA Council president and CEO Nelson Peacock said. “This program is not only a benefit to the recipients and new talent for our region, but it also contributes to the vibrancy of our existing, growing market and our local economy. We’re overwhelmed by the unbelievable response and interest and look forward to announcing additional recipients as new talent is selected.”
The “Life Works Here” initiative was launched by the NWA Council with backing from the Walton Family Foundation. Steuart and Tom Walton recommended the initiative, according to a NWA Council news release.
This program came about due to a 2019 report showing a lack of young entrepreneurial firms in the Northwest Arkansas region. The “Life Works Here” program was developed to fill this need in the Northwest Arkansas area and fill local STEM jobs.
Through the program, the recipients agree to move to Northwest Arkansas within six months of being accepted and remain at least a year to get the full incentive benefits.