Columbus aims to attract remote workers with $5,000 relocation package

Make Your Move, a relocation campaign for Columbus, Georgia, offers $5K to 7 to 10 potential residents to relocate to the city. (Courtesy of Columbus 2025)

The City of Columbus is offering 10 potential residents the opportunity to receive $5,000 for relocation to Georgia’s second-largest city.

The Make My Move initiative is a privately funded talent attrition program created to assist in population and infrastructure growth. It has garnered buzz among Georgians and online users across the country and, according to city officials, a marked increase in applications.

“[The response] has been more than we anticipated … the applications have gone through the roof,” said Tabetha Getz, executive director of Columbus 2025. “It’s gotten so many legs and it just continues to build. For so long Columbus has been under the radar.”

The desire to give Columbus greater visibility was originally a part of the goal behind Columbus 2025, a plan dedicated to addressing the city’s most challenging issues. One issue was a stagnant population, which Getz found puzzling due to the recent growth of the city’s entertainment, culture and quality of life.

“We knew that talent is a top driver for growth and prosperity,” she said. “So we wanted to put together a talent attraction program that would help grow our population.”

The skyline of the city of Columbus, Ga. (Courtesy of Columbus 2025)

Make My Move has a goal of 4% population growth in Columbus by 2026.

The initiative’s original concept occurred in 2019, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was shelved. In 2023, the campaign was revisited and, as of Thursday, has received 5,400 applications.

The selection process is much more than just a “pick at random” contest.

Applicants must meet several requirements — including already working a remote job that pays $75,000 annually or more — to be eligible as potential candidates. This has reduced the thousands of applicants to roughly 300, according to Getz.

Make My Move Requirements

  • Employed full-time and able to relocate while retaining current position.
  • Earn at least $75,000 annually from a single income source.
  • Live at least 75 miles outside the city limits of Columbus at the time of application for the program.
  • Must relocate primary residence to Muscogee County, GA within six months.
  • At least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or otherwise legally allowed to live and work in the country.

From there, potential candidates will be asked to answer questions about their interests and personal lives to see whether they would enjoy living in Columbus.

“They are asked to answer some questions for us about why they’re interested in living in Columbus, what their hobbies are, what type of lifestyle they prefer,” Getz said. “We’re just trying to make sure that this is going to be a good fit for them.”

Those who do move on to the next and final round will be subject to a phone interview and application review from a resident cohort board, which will determine the freshmen group.

Columbus officials hope to attract more potential residents to the city. (Courtesy of Columbus 2025)

Getz notes that the cash incentive is split into two parts — the first half paid upon moving to Columbus, and the second half paid if the applicant completes one full year as a resident.

“There was a lot of information online that wasn’t the full picture,” Getz said.

Other incentives include six months of a co-working space at CoWork Columbus, a one-year membership to the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and a community connection outing to become more familiar with other Columbus locals.

Incentive Package

  • 6 months of co-working space at CoWork Columbus
  • Annual Community Connection Outing – rafting, ziplining and a mixer with Columbus locals
  • Coffee with the mayor
  • One-year membership to the Young Professionals Program
  • One-year membership to Fetch Dog Park, a social club for humans and dogs alike
  • One-year family membership to Columbus Aquatics Center
  • One-year membership to the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce
  • Columbus Regional Tennis Membership
  • Two-night hotel stay to visit before you decide to call Columbus home

Based on the success of the incoming residents selected, Getz is open to widening the number of candidates chosen to participate in the future. And she still hopes that those who aren’t selected will still look at the city as a potential place to live.

“We have great arts and culture … whitewater rafting, all of the great schools you’re looking for for kids,” she said. “If you have options to live anywhere in the country that you want to live, why not Columbus?”