Illinois Town Offers $5,000 to New Residents to Help Plug Labor Shortage
- Quincy, Illinois, is offering people up to $5,000 in property-tax rebates to move there.
- The town, which lies on the border with Missouri, hopes this will help plug its worker shortage.
- It has more than 700 vacancies for full-time jobs in “virtually every segment,” its mayor said.
Quincy has more than 700 vacancies for full-time jobs in “virtually every segment,” Mayor Mike Troup told Insider.
“I don’t know that you could find a business in our community … that doesn’t have a ‘help-wanted’ sign in the front door,” Troup said. “There’s a tremendous need.”
Quincy lies on Illinois’ border with Missouri and is about 100 miles from St Louis and 300 miles from Chicago. It has a population of about 40,000, which local officials hope to grow to 45,000 by 2030.
Troup, who was born and raised in the town, said that the local economy was strong but that as businesses expanded, “we just haven’t grown the population base” to fill their roles.
Illinois had the third-largest population drop in the 2020 census, behind Puerto Rico and West Virginia.
Troup said businesses in Quincy offered competitive wages but the costs of relocating may still be putting people off from getting jobs in the area.
So the town’s council approved the Quincy Workforce Relocation Assistance Program (Q-WRAP) last month. People who move to Quincy from outside Adams County and get jobs within the county can get a property-tax rebate of up to $5,000 after one year of residency and employment. Alternatively, they can get a rental rebate of up to $3,500 after six months of residency.
Remote workers who relocate to Quincy are also eligible.
During its pilot, Q-WRAP benefits will be awarded to the first 25 eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. The town is also giving $250 in restaurant vouchers to local residents who successfully encourage people to relocate to Quincy.
When asked whom he thought would apply for Q-WRAP, Troup said: “We love them all. We’re not picky.”
He said he expected interest from people who were tired of living in larger metropolitan areas. The town has more than 1,000 acres of parks, a public golf course, and rivers and lakes popular for boating, Troup said. The town also attracts hunters who chase its deer, ducks, and quail.
Troup said Quincy had five new elementary schools, which were all “state of the art,” as well as a high school, a community college, and a four-year liberal-arts school.
Ricci Dula moved to Quincy from Redlands, California, in February 2019 to start as CEO of the Boy Scouts of America’s Mississippi Valley Council.
Dula told Insider that he’d never been to Quincy before moving there but had read online that it had a good reputation for family life.
Dula said that almost everything seemed cheaper in Quincy. He said he’d been able to afford a much bigger house than he’d had in Redlands. Gas was always at least $1 cheaper per gallon, he added.
Life in Quincy is much slower and the people are “kinder, nicer, more approachable,” he said. Dula relocated to Quincy with his wife and two children and said the town was safer, the school-bus system was better, and recreational activities for children, like sports leagues, were cheaper.
“I don’t have to worry about rush-hour traffic any longer or … schedule any meetings around traffic,” he said. “I have to schedule my time around tractors, but that’s a whole different story.”