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Cities in the U.S. are actively looking for people to move in to them and bring their remote jobs with them

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Fed up with moving house, free of work constraints and finished with big cities, Kate Yanov took a whole new approach to finding a new family home.

She let it find her.

Under an innovative programme, Oklahoma’s second city was actively looking for people just like Yanov to move to Tulsa, seeking residents who would stay at least a year and bring their remote jobs with them.

In return, successful applicants would get a $10,000 stipend, housing assistance, space at a co-working location and more, according to organisers of the new programme, Tulsa Remote, which is funded by a local foundation.

The Tulsa programme is one of several new initiatives by cities, states and counties that have seen dwindling populations and stagnating economic growth as populations age and younger residents leave chasing opportunities — and don’t come back.

While some of these seek any newly qualified resident, others are looking to the growing number of workers who can, like Yanov, work wherever they want.

Yanov applied, was accepted and finally visited Tulsa in April.

“It just felt very comfortable, like we could slot in and set up our home and find a place where we walk the dogs every day. It was very, surprisingly welcome,” she said.

Employment was no hindrance.

Yanov, who runs the tech company she founded, can use her phone and computer to work wherever she wants, while her husband is pursuing his PhD remotely, through a British university.

And they liked the city so much that she and her husband made an offer on a house during that trip.

They’re planning to move by the end of May.

DECLINE AND FALL

Remote working on any major scale remains a relatively new opportunity, intimately tied to more powerful personal computers and faster Internet capabilities, and dependent on whether businesses are open to the idea.

In the United States, it’s also a trend that was spurred by the economic downturn of 2008, said Matt Dunne, founder and executive director of the Center on Rural Innovation, a non-profit seeking to use the digital job market to help rebuild small-town economies.

Between 2011 and 2013, the United States “saw the first-ever net decline in rural population,” but it won very little notice.

“In the meantime, as everyone has tried to shoehorn into large urban centres, there’s a talent, transportation and housing crisis. For us, that presents an opportunity,” Dunne said.

He pointed to Gallup findings released in December that 27 percent of Americans would prefer to live in a rural area, versus the 12 percent who favour a large city.

Today, nearly 4 million Americans — almost 3 percent of the workforce — work from home at least half of the time, a 115 percent increase since 2005, according to Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist with FlexJobs, a job search site.

The first incentive programme like Tulsa’s — offering support for people willing to relocate and work remotely — began in 2015 in the state of Montana, Reynolds said.

Reynolds said she and her colleagues have noticed an increase in similar programmes over the past year or so.

In January, the small, mountainous state of Vermont started offering $5,000 to anyone working remotely for a company based outside of the state who would come and live in Vermont.

The initiative aimed to reverse an onerous trend: a third of the state population is older than 55 and will be set to retire in the next decade, said Joan Goldstein, commissioner with the state Department of Economic Development.

“There are less children in the schools,” she said. “All of these demographic numbers point to the idea that we need more people in the state … the object of the game is to get new tax filers.”

Goldstein said the Remote Worker Grant Program has seen “tremendous” interest, including from other state governments, and the governor has already sought to expand it.

“I suspect we’ll see a lot more of these types of programmes, because every rural area in the country is experiencing the same issues and problems. And I suspect that we’ll all be competing with each other for people,” she said.

Not all such programmes are focused on remote workers, however, with some simply seeking to entice people from cities.

Since 2012, Kansas has been trying to lure residents back to its vast rural areas, said Rachell Rowand, programme manager for the state’s Rural Opportunity Zones project.

The programme accepts applicants with college degrees then helps them pay down their loans, and has been particularly successful in attracting doctors and teachers, Rowand said.

It covers 77 of the state’s 105 counties, many of which have experienced double-digit population loss, she said.

“That’s scary, so we’ve been trying to find a way to help people move back into rural areas.”

‘BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWNS’

As yet, there is no data on the cumulative economic effect of initiatives like those running in Tulsa, Vermont and Kansas, said Dunne, with the Center on Rural Innovation.

“We’re at an early stage of exploring this,” he said.

Policymakers have “been slow to even look at economic development strategy and performance to recognise the situation in our country right now, particularly in rural areas.”

But he points to great possibility in moving large swathes of the digitally enabled economy out of urban areas and into “these beautiful downtowns all across America.”

Already, Dunne said, the number of people across the country with access to high-speed Internet is “equivalent to the workforce of three or four San Franciscos.”

Thus far, this new spate of incentive programmes is creating significant interest, organisers said.

The Tulsa Remote programme received more than 10,000 applications in just 10 weeks — 10 times what they had been anticipating, said executive director Aaron Bolze.

The programme is now expecting more than 100 people to move to Tulsa this year, with another application process opening in the autumn, he said.

Bolze can relate to those interested in the programme.

He grew up in Tulsa and moved back two years ago from San Francisco — like Yanov, seeking a cheaper, more intimate existence.

“I couldn’t be happier. My life is a lot more full.”

source:thisplace

 

 

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VIDEO: Pomp and colour as ‘Mahiga Homes Ltd’ marks 2nd Anniversary

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ADVERTISER’S MESSAGE: Your number one most trusted real estate developer in East and Central Africa Mahiga homes Ltd celebrated 2nd anniversary in pomp and colour, the event was marked with jubilation as every speaker praised the developer for the great achievements in just two years.

The developer has built and handed over 4 housing projects namely;

*Cornerstone I Estate
*Cornerstone III Estate
*Cornerstone IV Estate
*Kamulu Cornerstone Gardens
The celebrations were attended by several guests and clients who have invested with Mahiga homes.
Kikuyu Diaspora Media CEO Jeremy Damaris and Finance Director Josephine Wairimu graced the event.

Jeremy Damaris had this to say, ‘when Ruhiu told me that he has a project I listened to him and trusted him as my brother, its two years down the line and have never heard any complains from any client.
Mahiga homes Directors thanked and appreciated all the clients from believing in the developer.

Here are the current affordable houses that the developer is selling,
Rockvilla Annex located just 400 meters off tarmac at Joska long kangundo road, Kangundo rd is under construction to upgrade to dual carriageway,Spacious 3 bedroom bungalows master ensuite on plot size 40 by 80 kes 3.95m deposit kes 1.6m then pay the balance in 12 monthly instalments.

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Africa

VIDEO: Pomp and colour as ‘Mahiga Homes Ltd’ celebrates 2nd anniversary

Published

on

ADVERTISER’S MESSAGE: Your number one most trusted real estate developer in East and Central Africa Mahiga homes Ltd celebrated 2nd anniversary in pomp and colour, the event was marked with jubilation as every speaker praised the developer for the great achievements in just two years.

The developer has built and handed over 4 housing projects namely;

*Cornerstone I Estate
*Cornerstone III Estate
*Cornerstone IV Estate
*Kamulu Cornerstone Gardens
The celebrations were attended by several guests and clients who have invested with Mahiga homes.
Kikuyu Diaspora Media CEO Jeremy Damaris and Finance Director Josephine Wairimu graced the event.

Jeremy Damaris had this to say, ‘when Ruhiu told me that he has a project I listened to him and trusted him as my brother, its two years down the line and have never heard any complains from any client.
Mahiga homes Directors thanked and appreciated all the clients from believing in the developer.

Here are the current affordable houses that the developer is selling,
Rockvilla Annex located just 400 meters off tarmac at Joska long kangundo road, Kangundo rd is under construction to upgrade to dual carriageway,Spacious 3 bedroom bungalows master ensuite on plot size 40 by 80 kes 3.95m deposit kes 1.6m then pay the balance in 12 monthly instalments.

Continue Reading

Business

Kenya Power ‘giving jobs to foreigners’

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Kenyan contractors are accusing Kenya Power of denying them tenders in the Last Mile Connectivity projects in favour of foreign companies.

Some 2,000 registered companies that operate under the umbrella Power transmission Line Contractors Association (PTLCA) said the power utility firm has been giving local contractors terms that are impossible to meet.

The Last Mile is an ambitious Jubilee government project that aims to connect Kenyans in Rural areas, townships and schools to the National grid in a bid to spur economic growth. It  was expected to create jobs across the country.

Last year, the government launched the fourth phase, with Sh22 billion from multilateral lenders, including the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the European Union and the European Investment Bank.

It targets 280,475 customers in 32 counties across the country in the next three years.

The first phase of the project targeted 314,200 households, giving electricity to an additional 1.5 million Kenyans.

The second and third phases comprised the installation of new transformers and extension of a low-voltage network to reach an additional 500,000 customers, thereby bringing an additional 2.5 million Kenyans to the power grid.

But now Kenyan contractors say the conditions set in the tender documents for the fourth phase are so stringent no local company can qualify.

Most of the companies being awarded the tenders are from China and India.

 “The nature of the Last Mile contracts is that small power line construction jobs (across various counties) are consolidated to make a single lot. The county’s small jobs are then lumped into several lots then awarded to single contractors per lot. This consolidation is effectively used to give the contract a huge value and thus used as an excuse to lock out local contractors under guise of lack of capacity,” said PTLCA Executive director Magu Ngaire.

“The association is of the opinion that the Last Mile scheme is a waste of money. Instead of KPLC procuring four contractors for works across the country, the same work could be given to 200 contractors,” he added.

He said that the local contractors have 20,000 employees who will be impacted by the new Kenya Power policy.

Their grievances mirror those of the Energy Sector Contractors Association (Esca), which has moved to the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB), seeking to stop tenders in the energy sector, citing discrimination.

Kenya Power officials declined to comment on the grievances by PTLCA and directed us to the response they have filed with the PPARB.

“This is an AFD-financed project, whose procurement is based on the financier’s procurement guidelines. The bidding document took into account the law, KPLC’s requirements as well as the AFD procurement guidelines,” Kenya Power states.

 The power utility said that in most cases, contracts are given to specific companies picked by the financier as part of the funding agreement.

 “The process is in compliance with relevant internationally recognised practices, particularly those recommended by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,” says Kenya Power.

PTLCA have also taken issue with the company for allowing the foreign contractors to procure their own materials, a move they say is prone to abuse.

“KPLC is effectively introducing a layer of middlemen to supply it with materials. Since these materials are part of the contract price, KPLC, and thus the public, loses as these brokers are mostly not manufacturers and have to add their mark-up. It would serve the public well if KPLC directly procured the materials. It would save Kenyans money,” said Mr Magu.

 “Under the contract, KPLC will procure for design, consultancy and labour in addition to materials from the contractors. KPLC has designers, surveyors and engineers, whose very work is being contracted out.”

The local firms say that the foreign contractors still end up subcontracting the works to the “small” local contractors.

“The profits made by these foreigners are eventually repatriated rather than being ploughed back to the local economy.”

He said the foreigners pay poor rates for the subcontracts and in some instances fail to pay  altogether.

The Kenyan Constitution requires that major projects with huge economic potential involve the public in the final decision.

The contractors claim that KPLC did not go for public participation in arriving at the decision to consolidate small jobs, a decision that has  edged them out.

by nation.co.ke

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