Remote Shoals program

What exactly is the Remote Shoals program?

In fancy words, Remote Shoals is a remote worker relocation program that invites folks to move to The Shoals community. Essentially, we offer up to $10,000 for someone to relocate to The Shoals if you work remotely full time (other terms include working from home, telecommuting, digital nomad, “you don’t have a real job, you must sit in your underwear all day,” etc.). Remote Shoals is a selection process, meaning every applicant is not awarded. For all the details, including the reimbursement tiers and payment breakdown, visit our Terms & Conditions.

What is the process and timeline for an application?

Applications are currently accepted twice a year: in September and March. Upon submitting your application, the next step in our selection process involves a video interview. Rest assured, we aim to maintain transparency and keep you informed throughout the process. Successful applicants will move on to the next steps, bringing us closer to welcoming you into the Remote Shoals community.

What is the goal of the Remote Shoals program?

The goals of the Remote Shoals program revolve around enhancing our community dynamics. The Shoals, an already remarkable locale, is continuously evolving, and the Remote Shoals initiative was crafted to contribute to this ongoing growth. At its core, the program aims to attract individuals from diverse backgrounds and regions, injecting fresh perspectives and energy into The Shoals.

Our current Remote Shoals participants are integral contributors to the community, actively engaging as good neighbors and making noteworthy economic contributions. Whether renting or investing in local homes, patronizing nearby stores, or dining at community restaurants, Remote Shoals Residents play a vital role in fortifying the local economy.

Beyond these tangible impacts, the program has significantly elevated the community’s visibility, drawing interest from individuals previously unfamiliar with The Shoals. This heightened attention has translated into an influx of new residents and visitors, thereby generating revenue that directly benefits our community.

Our belief in the exceptional quality of life in The Shoals motivates us to extend an invitation to those ready to embark on the enriching journey of making our community their home. If you resonate with our values and are seeking a vibrant community to call home, we welcome you to explore the possibilities offered by the Remote Shoals program.

What are the eligibility requirements for Remote Shoals?         

To be eligible for Remote Shoals, selected participants must maintain their existing remote positions and transition their work to The Shoals community. This necessitates the ability to perform their current job from any location, specifically within The Shoals. Remote Shoals does not function as an employer offering job opportunities; rather, it serves to facilitate the relocation of individuals with existing remote roles.

For a comprehensive understanding of eligibility criteria and additional requirements, we encourage you to review the details outlined in our Terms and Conditions available on our website.

Is Remote Shoals offering jobs to the people who apply?

No, Remote Shoals is not an employer offering job opportunities. This program is designed for individuals who are already employed in remote positions outside of Colbert or Lauderdale County in Alabama. The key requirement is that participants must be able to retain their current remote positions when relocating to The Shoals. Remote Shoals acts as a facilitator for those seeking to make The Shoals their new remote work hub rather than a source of employment.

Who is the ideal candidate for Remote Shoals?

The ideal candidate for Remote Shoals is an individual who is currently employed with the flexibility to work from any location. This person does not currently reside in The Shoals nor work for a company based in The Shoals. We are seeking individuals who are actively searching for a community akin to The Shoals to establish as their home and put down roots.

Our ideal candidates are those who align well with the values and character of The Shoals, making them a good fit for our community. While the only requires someone to live in The Shoals for a year, our ultimate goal is that participants develop a genuine affection for The Shoals, fostering a desire to make it their long-term home.

Can couples/families apply?

Absolutely! We love to welcome the whole gang to our Remote Shoals family. Any person who meets the eligibility criteria is welcome to apply, even if they are members of the same family or household. As applications are handled on an individual basis, we cannot guarantee the outcome of each application(s).

Can I still apply if I just recently moved to The Shoals?

No, you are not eligible to apply if you recently moved to The Shoals. Remote Shoals is intended for individuals who reside outside of The Shoals at the time of acceptance to participate in the program.

Can I apply if I’m not a US citizen?

Individuals from outside the US are eligible to apply so long as they are a natural person and legal resident. Remote Shoals is not able to aid in the acquisition or approval of such credentials (work visas, etc.).

If selected for the program, where must I relocate? What are the boundaries for The Shoals region?

If selected to participate in the program, an individual must relocate to either Colbert or Lauderdale County in Northwest Alabama. These two counties make up the region we lovingly call The Shoals. Included are the four main cities of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield & Tuscumbia, as well as nine other outlying cities and towns.

If selected for the program, how soon can I move?

Upon being officially selected for the program, chosen applicants are required to relocate within six months. This timeline encompasses the period from an interview to becoming a finalist for the program to completing all necessary verification steps. Detailed expectations for each round, including specific timelines, can be accessed within the application. We aim to facilitate a smooth and timely transition for our participants as they embark on their journey to potentially make The Shoals their new home.

Does Remote Shoals assist with housing?

While Remote Shoals does not directly facilitate housing arrangements for selected participants, we provide an abundance of resources to guide individuals through their housing journey. Our aim is to equip participants with the information and contacts needed to navigate the housing market in The Shoals successfully.

Can I apply if I’m already in the process of buying a home/signing a lease in The Shoals?

No, you are not eligible for the program if you’re in the process of buying a home or renting an apartment. This includes: currently working with a realtor, in escrow, about to close on your home, have closed on your home, have already purchased a property in The Shoals, or have signed a lease prior to completing any needed verification (including income) and being formally accepted into the program.

What does Remote Shoals define as remote work?

Remote Shoals is designed for individuals who have full-time remote employment with a company outside of The Shoals. The term “remote employment” refers to individuals who do not have a daily physical commute to their workplace. Other terms this can be referred to include “working from home” or “telecommuting.”

For self-employment, the work completed must align with the above description and be “remote” in nature. Discerning if a particular applicant’s self-employment is eligible is up to the discretion of Remote Shoals officials.

I work for a rideshare or delivery service like Lyft or Doordash. Am I eligible to apply?

No, rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber, and delivery services such as Grubhub and DoorDash, are not considered full-time remote employment.

The Shoals community

What exactly is The Shoals region?

Two counties in Northwest Alabama, each with their own notable history, learned they are stronger together and have worked closely to develop our community we lovingly call The Shoals. Collectively designated as the Florence-Muscle Shoals MSA, The Shoals is the ideal location to establish roots, whether personal or professional. The major urban center of the Florence-Muscle Shoals MSA, commonly referred to as the quad cities, includes the cities of Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. If chosen to participate in Remote Shoals, an applicant would be required to relocate to a city, town, or unincorporated area of either Colbert or Lauderdale Counties.

What is the weather like in The Shoals? Are there any natural disasters someone would need to prepare for?

The Shoals offers a fantastic climate, making it an ideal destination for year-round outdoor activities. Expect beautiful and mild temperatures, with warm summers and slightly chilly winters, occasionally hovering around freezing. While significant snowfall is rare, the region boasts a pleasant and inviting atmosphere.

It’s important to note that tornadoes can be a potential threat in North Alabama. Periodically, storm systems may arise, presenting the risk of tornadoes. However, it’s reassuring to mention that The Shoals has experienced only a few tornado touchdowns in the past 25+ years. The community is well-prepared, with local storm shelters and robust resources available to help residents and newcomers alike prepare for and navigate such weather occurrences. The overall weather landscape in The Shoals offers a delightful environment for those seeking a balance between seasonal variations and the opportunity for year-round outdoor enjoyment.

What’s the food and coffee shop scene like in The Shoals?

The Shoals boasts a vibrant and diverse food scene, offering an array of excellent local restaurants catering to various tastes. From delectable Italian and tantalizing Thai to sizzling steakhouses, satisfying sandwiches, and irresistible Southern comfort food, there’s something to satiate every craving.

For a truly unique dining experience, the Rattlesnake Saloon is a must-visit. Nestled beneath a natural stone bluff that once sheltered Native Americans, this watering hole under the rock offers a family-friendly environment where you can connect with local history.

Notable mentions from our staff include the Odette, Pie Factory, Yumm Thai Sushi & Beyond, Sergio’s Authentic Mexican, and Claunch Café, each contributing its own distinctive flair to the culinary landscape.

The coffee culture in The Shoals is equally captivating, serving as a reflection of the community’s character. Favorites among our staff include Rivertown Coffee, Dandelion Coffee, Turbo Coffee, Red Cow Coffee, and Companion Coffee. These establishments, though highly recommended, represent just a glimpse into the rich tapestry of coffee shops available in The Shoals, each offering its unique ambiance and flavors.

How are the school systems in The Shoals?

The Shoals features a dynamic educational landscape with six public school systems and approximately five private ones. The educational journey begins early, with most institutions offering pre-K programs, some even catering to pre-K 2 classes.

Our K-12 institutions in The Shoals have garnered acclaim, supported by compelling data. According to a recent study by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, a noteworthy 82.7% of Shoals high school seniors met the state’s definition of college and career readiness, marking the highest rank among all Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the state. Florence and Muscle Shoals City Schools further solidify this reputation by recently securing spots in the Top 15 school systems in Alabama.

For those pursuing postsecondary education, The Shoals offers two prominent opportunities. Northwest-Shoals Community College provides diverse curriculums and career technical training, while the University of North Alabama (UNA), the oldest university in the state, stands as the local four-year institution. UNA has earned recognition as the fastest-growing university in Alabama, with growing programs in Nursing, Computer Science, Business, and more, reflecting its commitment to providing high-quality education.

What is the difference between each city/town?

Each of the four main cities – Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia – along with the other nine municipalities and towns in The Shoals offers a unique and diverse atmosphere, ensuring there’s a perfect fit for every individual or family.

Florence, our largest city, boasts a lively downtown scene adorned with restaurants, coffee shops, and gyms, creating a vibrant and bustling urban experience. Tuscumbia and Sheffield follow suit, with beautiful downtown areas seamlessly transitioning into picturesque parks. Muscle Shoals, our fastest-growing city, is a popular choice for families, providing a thriving community atmosphere. Additionally, some of our smaller towns offer the allure of more expansive land and a slower pace of living, providing an ideal setting for those seeking a tranquil lifestyle.

Despite each city and town having its distinctive attributes, what truly sets The Shoals apart is the regional feel that permeates the entire area. Residents often find themselves exploring other cities for shopping, dining, attending events, and more, fostering a sense of interconnectedness and shared experiences that define the unique charm of The Shoals.

What is the cost of living in The Shoals?

The Shoals stands out as an exceptionally affordable community, earning recognition as the most affordable small metro in the U.S., according to a recent article on Porch.com—a reputable online platform offering home improvement and home-buying advice. The overall cost of living in The Shoals is impressively 17.6% less than the national average.

For those considering homeownership, the average home price in the Florence-Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is reported to be $178,400, as indicated by the Census Reporter. This affordability, coupled with the diverse amenities and vibrant community life, makes The Shoals an attractive and economically sound choice for individuals and families alike.

How is the housing or rental market in The Shoals?

The Shoals has a great housing market, and our prices are very competitive. The average home price in the Florence-Muscle Shoals MSA is $178,400, according to the Census Reporter. Take a look at what housing is available here! This is a list of real estate options associated with the Shoals Chamber of Commerce.

We also have a great rental market. Local property managers and apartment complexes provide beautiful spaces to call home. The median gross rent in Colbert and Lauderdale County are $701 and $761, respectively, according to Census Data. Check out some of the available rentals here!

What is there to do in The Shoals? Are there any festivals or events?

The Shoals offers a plethora of activities and events to cater to various interests, making it a vibrant and engaging community.

Multiple parks, some overlooking the picturesque Tennessee River, provide a scenic backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts. Activities associated with the Tennessee River, including kayaking and fishing, add an element of adventure. The area boasts numerous walking and hiking trails, inviting residents to explore and discover exciting adventures.

For those seeking indoor entertainment, The Shoals features two bowling alleys, each with its unique vibe, including one located in a relaxed basement setting. Families with younger members can enjoy the Children’s Museum, providing an engaging experience tailored to the younger crowd.

The region hosts a variety of festivals, with a special emphasis on music. Events such as W.C. Handy, ShoalsFest, Helen Keller Festival, and Muscle Shoals Songwriting Festival showcase the rich musical heritage of the area. The University of North Alabama contributes to the cultural scene with the George Lindsey Film Festival, while cultural celebrations like The Renaissance Fair and Oka Kapassa honor Native American heritage.

On a regular basis, each community in The Shoals hosts different events. Florence’s First Friday, occurring for most of the year, transforms the main street into a vibrant market where local artisans, vendors, and businesses showcase their work and products. Featuring live music and themed months, such as homecoming celebrations for the local university, First Friday offers a dynamic and lively atmosphere. Additionally, live music events are a regular occurrence in various venues throughout the week, ensuring a steady dose of entertainment for residents.

What volunteering opportunities are available in The Shoals?

We have plenty of excellent volunteering opportunities here in The Shoals. At-risk youth, people experiencing homelessness, and domestic violence victims are a few of the communities local nonprofits work toward serving. We have many well-known opportunities like United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Shoals CASA, and local animal shelters. Our local hospitals usually have volunteering opportunities as well. We even have a new community garden. There is a place for everyone to be involved in The Shoals!

How does The Shoals support the inclusion of all in its community?

In The Shoals, inclusivity is not just a principle; it’s a way of life. The community wholeheartedly embraces individuals of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, religions, cultural backgrounds, political stances, and beyond. The commitment to equal opportunity is woven into the fabric of The Shoals, making it a place where everyone is welcomed with open arms.

The Remote Shoals program aligns with this mission by actively seeking to increase diversity in the area. By inviting remote workers from across the country to relocate and work in The Shoals, the program contributes to building a more diverse and inclusive community.

The University of North Alabama takes a significant step in advancing social inclusion through the Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion. This unique center, one of the only of its kind in the Southeast, is dedicated to supporting education, research, community engagement, and advocacy. The center serves as an accessible and inclusive space, fostering collaboration, interdisciplinary projects, and sustainable partnerships with organizations addressing pressing social issues. Collaborations with community industries and organizations extend to tailored diversity and inclusion training for employees, reinforcing the commitment to fostering an inclusive environment.

Testimonials from current Remote Shoals residents attest to the welcoming nature of the community. The ease with which individuals find their place and connect with community members underscores the authenticity of The Shoals as a truly remarkable and inclusive place—one that residents are proud to call home.

How are the traffic and crime in The Shoals?

The Shoals area allows residents to traverse from one side to the other in 30 minutes at most. Commutes between cities typically clock in around 10 minutes. This accessibility stands in stark contrast to the challenges faced by individuals in larger cities, where the sheer size of the urban landscape can impede their ability to experience everything the city offers.

When it comes to safety, The Shoals prides itself on relatively low crime rates. As of the last check, the violent crime rate, measured on a scale from 1 (common crime) to 100 (high crime), stood at 20.0, with the property crime rate at 36.7. In comparison, U.S. averages are 22.7 and 35.4, respectively. Beyond statistical measures, the community fosters a strong sense of safety. Residents feel secure, whether it’s about leaving car doors unlocked or walking alone in downtown areas.

The commitment to community safety is bolstered by excellent local law enforcement, contributing to The Shoals’ reputation as a safe and welcoming area.

How is the internet connectivity in The Shoals?

The Shoals community boasts excellent internet connectivity, ensuring that residents and businesses have access to reliable and high-speed services. Major providers like Comcast and AT&T offer fiber and/or broadband services across most metropolitan areas in The Shoals, including the four main cities—Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. These areas benefit from robust and dependable internet access. While the more rural parts of the region may not have as extensive internet coverage, ongoing efforts are in place to explore and implement improvements.

What outdoor activities are available in The Shoals? How’s the fishing?

The Shoals provides an abundance of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts, making it a haven for those seeking adventure amidst stunning landscapes.

In the heart of the community lies the Cane Creek Preserve, a privately owned and meticulously maintained 700+ acre site. This popular destination offers breathtaking trails and features at least one waterfall, providing an immersive outdoor experience. For those willing to venture a bit further, the Bankhead National Forest along the Sipsey River, a mere 45-minute drive from The Shoals, opens up additional hiking opportunities amidst scenic beauty.

Camping enthusiasts have a variety of options to explore, with McFarland Park standing out as a popular choice, situated along the picturesque Tennessee River. The Tennessee Valley Authority, responsible for power production in the area, enhances the outdoor experience with hiking/walking trails and recently opened campgrounds on their property.

The Tennessee River, flowing through the heart of the community, serves as a central hub for fishing and recreation. Dam-controlled, the river gives rise to Wheeler, Wilson, and Pickwick Lakes in The Shoals. Pickwick Lake, in particular, stands out as one of the country’s premier spots for smallmouth bass. Beyond bass, the lakes boast a variety of fish, including bluegill, catfish, and crappie, offering a diverse and exciting fishing experience for enthusiasts of all levels.

What is the history of The Shoals? Are there any historical landmarks or tourist attractions?

The Shoals stands as a living testament to a rich and diverse history, with connections to various eras and cultural influences. From the resonant echoes of its musical legacy to the stories of Native Americans, The Shoals offers a captivating journey through time.

The community is adorned with numerous museums, each a treasure trove highlighting different facets of its history. Among these gems are Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller, providing insight into the remarkable life of this iconic figure. The Muscle Shoals Sound Recording Studio, a pivotal location in the history of American music, is another must-visit destination. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House stands as a testament to architectural brilliance and innovation, offering a glimpse into the renowned architect’s creative genius.

Beyond these landmarks, The Shoals unfolds a rich tapestry of history, inviting residents and visitors alike to explore and discover the stories that have shaped this vibrant community.