By DAWN HENSIL, News & Journal Staff Writer
A new program is trying to bring new and talented
residents to the mountain state. The program is called
“Ascend West Virginia” and is aimed at attracting
‘Pioneers’ to relocate to West Virginia and work remotely.
West Virginia native and Intuit Founder and Chairman
Brad Smith and his wife Alys founded the program within
the WVU Outdoor Economic Collaborative with a $25
million endowment last year. The goal of this effort is to
attract more talented individuals to call West Virginia
home, with a mission to share West Virginia’s unbeatable
quality of life.
Participants of the program will receive $10,000 to
relocate to the state during their first year. This money is
to help offset the costs of the move as well as any other
expenses. As incentive for the second year, participants
will then receive another $2,000 for continuing to be a
resident of West Virginia. They will be required to stay in
the state during the two years although it is strongly
believed that they will grow to love all that the state has to
offer; it is hoped that participants will choose to stay here
after their two years are over. Another incentive that
participants will have available to them is a year of free
recreation such as rafting and climbing.
The response for this program was much larger than
expected. With over 7,500 applicants, fifty-three
participants have been selected in this inaugural group.
These individuals will be relocating to Morgantown, WV
to begin their new life. Many are excited for this change
and are looking forward to exploring the state and
experiencing the culture here. Due to Ascend’s acceptance
rate for its first class being 1%, the applicants also were
encouraged to resubmit their applications for future
classes and locations. The program will welcome more
than 1,000 new remote workers to the state over the next
Those who were not selected for the inaugural
Morgantown class now have another offer. They will be
eligible for a $2,500 mortgage assistance from the
program and a partnership with Rocket Mortgage,
allowing them to have another opportunity to make the
move that much easier.
The program’s second round in the application process
opened on September 2nd and will close on October 31.
These applications are for the next host city which will be
in Lewisburg. Another city being promoted is
Shepardstown. It has also been announced that the
program will once again open for Morgantown in 2022.
For more information on this program visit