PHOTO PROVIDED Those working remotely are encouraged to apply for an initiative that will allow them to live and work in Bellefonte as part of a visit to the PA Wilds community. Those selected will be able to work in different places in Bellefonte, including Talleyrand Park.

BELLEFONTE – Workers with the ability to perform their work remotely can now do so during a live visit and at work in a PA Wilds community. The Wilds Are Working: A Remote Lifestyle Experience, launched in early April by the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, offers this opportunity.

Funded by Ben Franklin Technology Partners through the Appalachian Regional Commission, this project serves to address rural out-migration and market PA Wilds communities as great places to live and work for remote workers.

Piloted in the summer of 2022 in the PA Wilds community of Bellefonte, this initiative will allow remote workers to live, work, volunteer and explore all that the rural area has to offer. Bellefonte, just 12 miles from Penn State University Park, is part of the I-80 border landscape of the PA Wilds area. Applications are now open through April 30 to participate in the July 2022 Remote Lifestyle Experience program at WildsAreWorking.com.

“Programs like The Wilds Are Working: A Remote Lifestyle Experience have had remarkable success in Appalachia and other rural communities across the country,” said Abbi Peters, director of operations at the PA Wilds Center. “We see this as a great opportunity to connect community-minded individuals with towns in the Pennsylvania Wilds.”

Applications will open later this summer for a similar remote work experience in Kane, Pennsylvania, another community piloting the initiative.

“Bellefonte and Kane have been selected as initial pilot communities, but our goal is to be able to roll out this program to other PA Wilds communities,” Peters said. “This is an opportunity for technology and innovation workers who have the ability to ‘work from anywhere’ to explore the PA Wilds and find a community that offers an excellent quality of life.”

Bellefonte will host up to five remote workers and their partners and/or families (if applicable) in July 2022. Expenses including accommodation, excursions, etc. are covered as part of the experience so to inject more dollars locally into the region. throughout the initiative. Workers will be offered these opportunities in the form of a digital gift card, redeemable only at participating businesses in the Wilds area.

“We hope these people really get out there and experience all that our community has to offer during their month in Bellefonte,” said Ellen Matis, chair of the board of directors of Downtown Bellefonte Inc. – the organization that manages the remote lifestyle experience in this community. “Whether they want to paddle down Spring Creek or grab a craft drink downtown, the funds provided to them in the form of a digital gift card will help them identify and realize those opportunities.”

The same funding opportunities will be available during the September 2022 Remote Lifestyle Experience in Kane, also made possible through funding made available to Ben Franklin Technology Partners through the Appalachian Regional Commission.

“For Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA, place-making projects like this help increase the region’s competitiveness for innovation workers and tech entrepreneurs and are part of our broader strategy. aimed at retaining a workforce prepared by area colleges and universities. “, said John Sider, Vice President of Business Development, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA. “Partnering with the PA Wilds Center allows this project to leverage the marketing power of the regional PA Wilds brand and its growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Those selected for the program will also have the opportunity to give back to this community through volunteering. Applicants will be matched with volunteers based on their unique skills or be offered a host of volunteer opportunities available for the duration of their stay.

“The volunteer aspect is a key element as it allows selected candidates a more meaningful engagement during their stay, and it also provides a resource for skill sets that our communities may not currently have access to,” Peters said.

Applicants will be selected for the Remote Living Experience after a review of their application by a committee comprised of members from each community. During the application process, individuals must share information about their employment status, what makes them a good candidate for the program, their interests and hobbies, and a brief introductory video for review by the committee.

Through this initiative, the mission of the PA Wilds Center is to show that rural Pennsylvania is not only a great place for remote workers, but also to settle and live.

Peters said, “We hope that by highlighting some of the great assets and characteristics of our communities, this program can help encourage people who may have left years ago to return home, motivate others interested in a rural lifestyle with modern amenities to join us and inspire today’s youth and future generations to put down roots in the PA Wilds.

Applications are open through April 30 for the Bellefonte Wilds Are Working: Remote Work Lifestyle opportunity. Up to five individuals will be selected to participate in the July 2022 program. Applications can be submitted at WildsAreWorking.com.



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