The Wilds Are Working: A Remote Lifestyle Experience campaign seeks to raise awareness about the PA Wilds being a great place for remote and non-remote workers to live, work, and play. An initiative of the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship (PA Wilds Center), in collaboration with several partners and funded by Ben Franklin Technology Partners through the Appalachian Regional Commission, the campaign was piloted in the communities of Bellefonte and Kane in 2022. In 2023, the communities of Emporium and Warren were selected through a competitive application process.
When open, applications for remote workers are posted to the program website at www.WildsAreWorking.com.
Your community could host workers and be a part of the Wilds Are Working campaign, too.
Communities within the Pennsylvania Wilds, covering a 13-county region of Northern Pennsylvania, may be eligible to host remote workers through this program. The following are requirements to be considered:
- Suitable accommodations for long-term workers, that include full kitchens, Wi-Fi, and ample living space. These can include local vacation rentals and bed & breakfast properties.
- Community access to high-speed internet, both in residential and public areas (like coffee shops or coworking spaces).
- Mobile phone coverage for a variety of carriers.
- Ample opportunities for recreation, events, and activities within a reasonable proximity.
- Staff or volunteers able to dedicate time to project management, including program set up time (using a guided toolkit), application management, and more.
- A group of friendly and knowledgeable volunteers ready to host workers and help them make the most of their experience.
With an eye toward tackling the challenges that come with outmigration and a dwindling tax base, the Wilds Are Working campaign seeks to empower workers to try out living, working, and giving in the PA Wilds communities for up to 4 weeks with a hope that some of those participants will decide to work in the region full-time. Modeled after case studies emerging from across Appalachia and the nation, this program is one of many that rural communities are implementing to incentivize and stimulate revitalization. Building on the movement, the Rural Outdoor Investment (ROI) Act looks to allocate $50 million annually to fund infrastructure improvements and similar marketing campaigns to help towns across the country plan and build recreation-based economies.
About us: The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. (PA Wilds Center) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to marry conservation and economic development to strengthen and inspire communities in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
PA Wilds Center is the state’s external lead nonprofit for the PA Wilds effort. In this role, the Center works with local, state, and national partners to help coordinate outreach and investments in the landscape-level PA Wilds strategy by various public and private-sector partners. PA Wilds Center manages all of the PA Wilds programs, services, and platforms to benefit communities and businesses; and houses core stakeholder structures tied to the regional strategy, such as the PA Wilds Planning Team.
PA Wilds Center seeks to promote the Pennsylvania Wilds as a premier outdoor recreation destination as a way to create jobs, diversify local economies, inspire stewardship, and improve quality of life. Among its most visible work, the Center operates an entrepreneurial ecosystem tied to the place-based brand of the PA Wilds, which is associated with the region’s vast public lands, outdoor recreation experiences, stewardship ethic, maker culture, and rural lifestyle. The ecosystem includes these interconnected components: a trademarked logo and brand; destination and lifestyle marketing; a network of businesses and organizations (The Wilds Cooperative); regional PA Wilds-branded commerce infrastructure; and a business incubator/accelerator (PA Wilds Media Lab) to support ecosystem activities. This ecosystem approach is considered a model by communities in PA and beyond.
Info Session Presenters Include:
Abbi Peters, COO, PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Co-Founder, Wilds Cooperative of PA + PA Wilds Conservation Shop.
LaKeshia Knarr, Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Director, PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship
Ellen Matis, Owner + Integrated Marketing Communications Strategist, Hello Social Co., and Contracted Project Partner for The Wilds Are Working: A Remote Lifestyle Experience Program
Tina Johns Solak, Executive Director, Cameron County Chamber of Commerce & Artisan Center (Community Lead Organization for Emporium, a 2023 Wilds Are Working Host Community).
Savannah Casey, Administrative Assistant, Warren County Chamber of Business & Industry (Community Lead Organization for Warren, a 2023 Wilds Are Working Host Community)
Time will be allotted for Q+A about this opportunity.
Join us on Wednesday, November 8, at 3:00 p.m.