Originally published on COBizmag.com February 16, 2021
Job growth in the digital economy grew over 30% from 2005 to 2018, making it the second-fastest growing industry in the country and the fourth largest contributor to the US GDP. Add in a global pandemic and suddenly an awful lot of us can work from anywhere.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who won’t step foot in a commercial office building anytime in the near future, consider a relocation to Grand Junction. We’d love to have you (and your job!).
1. You won’t be alone.
Working from home can be lonely. Moving to a new community and working from home makes it especially hard to meet people, network and get involved. We recognized a need to help integrate the influx of highly skilled remote workers moving to the area and created a “Welcome Wagon” program to do just that. Lead by a group of local ambassadors from all different industries and consisting of a series of meetings and events that take place over a year, the program helps connect remote workers with the resources, coworking and quality of life amenities that they might otherwise miss out on. You might even make a friend or two.
2. You’ll be happier here.
Quality of life means something a bit different in western Colorado where social distancing is our norm. 75% of our lands are public, providing us the space and immediate access to the outdoors to recreate and get outside while allowing plenty of space between people. Throughout the pandemic, our businesses have stayed open and our kids have stayed in school, resulting in a steady economy and happier families.
With housing prices half of what they are in Denver, we spend far less of our income on our housing, making us the most affordable metropolitan area in Colorado.
Like sitting in traffic? We don’t either, and spend 32% less time sitting in our cars than Front Range residents. That’s 32% more time that we spend on our skis, bikes, kayaks, trails or on our couch. If you can work from anywhere, why wouldn’t you pick a place that saves you money while giving you back the life you’ve been missing?
3. We want you here.
We’ve been working to diversify our economy for a decade and have seen enormous growth in the outdoor recreation and tech industries. When we began to see jobs move permanently out of offices and into homes last year, we got busy figuring out how to import those people along with their jobs to Grand Junction.
We were one of the first communities in Colorado to create a Remote Worker Plan to help us shift our economic development efforts and strategy to really think about remote workers and their impact on our community, diversification efforts and our economy. We’re rethinking how we view infrastructure, workforce, incentives and real estate based on the digital economy as well as the rise of remote jobs.
4. We can support you and your job on a global scale.
Grand Junction is bigger than you think. Known as the Grand Valley, the Grand Junction area includes the town of Palisade to the east and the city of Fruita to the west and has a total population of 156,000. Add in the mountain and regional communities that come to town to do their shopping and get their healthcare, and that population grows to 350,000.
Home to the Grand Junction Regional Airport with 16 daily, direct flights, you’ve got the amenities of a big city with the charm and culture of a small, rural town. Our location on Interstate 70, halfway between Denver and Salt Lake City, puts your business within an easy drive of over 5 million people without the congestion and prices that come with big-city living. More importantly, we have reliable, fast and affordable internet.
5. We’ve got you covered should your job situation change.
Worried about having to move again should your job situation change? We’ve got your back. Partnerships across the community between Colorado Mesa University, the Mesa County Workforce Center and our local businesses will plug you into our local networks. Manufacturing, construction, outdoor recreation and tech have all remained strong industries in Grand Junction, adding jobs as demand continues to grow.
Like working remote? Through the LONE incentive program, Colorado actually pays employers to allow their employees to live and work in Grand Junction and there are currently hundreds of jobs available that you can do from anywhere. Opportunities abound should your situation unexpectedly change.
Robin Brown is the executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, the economic development organization for Mesa County, the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita and the town of Palisade. For more information, go to gjep.org/lonegrant.