For anyone who thinks the idea is dreamy, Hawaii offers free round-trip tickets to Oahu to remote workers outside the state who want to live and work there, while contributing to the state’s economy.
“Movers and Shakas is a small step toward economic recovery and diversification of our economy,” Jason Higa, the group’s founder, told CNN.
The pandemic, he said, “normalizes remote work in the foreseeable future, so we believe that this situation allows locals to return home and professionals outside the country to experience Hawaii not as tourists but as contributing members of the community.”
Fifty people will be selected for the first cohort. Later, candidates will be accepted permanently. To apply, you must be a remote worker and have reached the age of 18.
Participants must move within one month of their selection and must spend at least 30 consecutive days in Hawaii.
Return to Hawaii
While spending your weekends soaking in the sun may sound like the sky, Movers and Shakas is specifically looking for people who want to contribute to Hawaii’s local communities.
Those admitted to the program must engage in a few hours each week with a non-profit organization where they can use their knowledge and skills.
Although the program will accept remote workers from across the United States, it also targets former Hawaiians who want to return.
Among these people is Richard Matsui, founder of Movers and Shakas, who recently returned to Hawaii from San Francisco.
“As someone who was born and raised in Hawaii, I’ve always dreamed of coming home,” Matsui, 35, told CNN. “The pandemic normalized remote work, and I took the opportunity to move home.”
Matsui also pointed to one of the main goals of the program: to help diversify the economy.
“Apart from bringing valuable dollars into our local business, the real value is attracting talented knowledge workers who will both help build our communities through volunteer work and make our economy more resilient,” Matsui said. “While the pandemic is a huge crisis, it also gives Hawaii a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to diversify our economy.”