SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - A Bay Area exodus, sparked by the high cost of living, is giving birth to an economic opportunity. In a small, shared office space in Downtown San Jose, the latest start-up takes flight Tuesday morning.
“MainStreet” CEO Doug Ludlow said his company is offering prospective Bay Area workers $10,000 to leave, and work elsewhere remotely.
“It’s a campaign designed to get your attention. And bring attention to our mission of developing jobs and in dense urban areas,” said Ludlow.
For the majority of Bay residents, out-of-reach housing prices, coupled with hours-long commutes have tarnished living in the Golden State.
“It’s very expensive. Affording a house is just kind of a pipe dream for most of us. But that’s just the way the Bay Area is,” said Matt Stillman, a Downtown San Jose resident.
MainStreet seeks to pair willing participants who’ll move to smaller areas where the living is less costly, with employers willing to have remote workers. The collaborative combination could infuse rural America with economic growth.
“My vision and goal is you’d never have to leave your hometown to get a great job,” said Ludlow.
Getting $10,000 to move to a smaller town, and work with a Bay Area salary sounds appealing. Of course, you’d have to work for a year before the $10,000 is deposited into your account. Experts say this is an idea that could be successful over the long haul.
"We’ve already got an exodus,” said Dr. Robert Chapman Wood, a professor of business and strategic management at San Jose State University. “I’ve talked to a number of people including some younger people in my church who’ve already moved out of the area for these reasons. So giving people a system of how to deal with that is a perfectly reasonable business.”
The lure of the Bay Area will keep people moving here in the short-term. But Ludlow bets increasing the out-migration will provide a better life in as many as 500 rural towns. And perhaps lessen the painful things that drive people away in the first place.