First Round of Northwest Arkansas ‘Life Works Here’ Incentive Program Recipients Announced

The strong interest in the “Life Works Here” incentive program generated more than 26,000 applications from candidates in more than 115 countries and all 50 states eager to move to Northwest Arkansas. Today, the Northwest Arkansas Council announced the first 25 recipients of the $10,000 cash incentive have been selected. Among the first round of recipients, selections include a diverse group of individuals who span backgrounds in the arts, culinary and technology industries.

The first round of Life Works Here incentive recipients announced today include:

  • An executive chef and James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow from Atlanta
  • A digital marketing manager from Denver
  • A music producer and creative community curator from Los Angeles
  • A gaming producer from Los Angeles
  • And a cloud technology manager from San Francisco

The initiative launched in November 2020 by the Northwest Arkansas Council and is made possible by philanthropic support from the Walton Family Foundation at the recommendation of Steuart Walton and Tom Walton to attract top talent to the region.

With one of the best costs of living, plentiful outdoor lifestyle perks, nationally ranked arts, culture and cuisine scenes, a rapidly growing economy, and per capita income that’s 14% higher than the national average, the “Life Works Here” incentive program created significant awareness, international media coverage and brought robust attention to the incredible appeal of the many attributes of the Northwest Arkansas region.

“Professionals all over the country are starting to see the benefits of life in the Heartland, and Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas are at the top of the list,” said Steuart Walton. “This region welcomes innovators and thought leaders to a community defined by world-class mountain biking, cultural experiences and a true entrepreneurial spirit.”

In addition to the $10,000 cash incentive, recipients will be gifted a street or mountain bicycle to help them take advantage of the 162 miles of paved trails and 322 miles of world-class mountain biking trails that has made outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area. Alternatively, participants can choose an annual membership to one of the region’s world-class arts and cultural institutions.

“Northwest Arkansas has emerged as one of the most desirables places to live in the country, positioning the region as a top destination in an economy redefined by remote work opportunities,” said Mervin Jebaraj, Director, Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “The long-term success of the region will be determined by our collective ability to bring more innovators in the critical sectors of science, technology, engineering, arts and math.”

Beyond joining the growing NWA community and contributing to the local economy, incentive recipients are asked to participate in marketing campaigns to attract other top talent to the region and have committed to volunteering in the local communities.

“This first wave of new talent to the Northwest Arkansas region generated by the “Life Works Here” campaign is just a sampling of the exceptional individuals we’ve been able to attract to our region with the incentive program,” said Nelson Peacock, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “This program is not only a benefit to the recipients and new talent for our region, but it also contributes to the vibrancy of our existing, growing market and our local economy. We’re overwhelmed by the unbelievable response and interest and look forward to announcing additional recipients as new talent is selected.”