Warren Approved for Wilds are Working Initiative

February 8, 2023

WARREN, Pa. – Warren has been approved for funding for the Wilds Are Working Initiative, a program designed to give remote workers the opportunity to live in rural Pennsylvania.

The program offers workers the chance to spend an expenses-paid two to four weeks living and working in rural communities with the hope that they will like it enough to stick around.

“Basically what they’re trying to do is put a spotlight on these rural areas,” said Phil Gilbert, Director of the Warren County Tax Claim Bureau and also a Warren City Council member.  “I applied for the program, we were awarded and now we’re going to go through that process.”

Gilbert made the announcement at Wednesday’s Warren County Commissioners meeting.

The goal of the initiative, which is being overseen by the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, is to highlight the workers and show people the advantages of living in a small town.

The initiative is modeled after case studies from rural areas across the nation and is one of several programs that rural communities are implementing to incentivize and stimulate revitalization

Gilbert noted that the PA Wilds pick the candidates.

“They pick the people and we vet them,” Gilbert said. “Now we get to go through that process. It’s pretty exciting and we’re looking forward to getting started on that.”

Gilbert said that the workers brought in would be working out of the Innovault Coworking space located on Liberty St. in Warren.

Gilbert spoke to Your Daily Local about the Innovault Cowork space during its open house as part of the 2021 Christmas Walk:

Several local businesses will also be getting in on the act, providing the incoming workers with gift cards.

The Pennsylvania Wilds, which include Warren, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Lycoming, Clinton, Elk, Cameron, Forest, Clearfield, Clarion, Jefferson, and northern Centre counties, account for approximately 25% of Pennsylvania’s land area but only 4% of its population.

The program was recently approved in neighboring Kane, with positive results.

“I’m excited,” said Warren County Commissioner Tricia Durbin. “I think that it’s great.”

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