Dot banks on post-COVID rural appeal, pays employees to move

Illinois

Aimie Logan explains how she electronically checks off items shown on the monitor attached to her forklift in loading pallets of food for delivery at Dot Foods, in Mount Sterling, Ill., July 9, 2021. Logan, 37, an Aurora native who spent her entire adult life living and working in Chicago, was lured to western Illinois by a desire for a slower pace of life and the friendly environment Dot offers. Finding it harder to hire, Dot is looking beyond its traditional local hiring pool by offering relocation reimbursements of $1,500 to $3,000. (John O’Connor/AP Photo)

MOUNT STERLING, Ill. (AP) — A 60-year history of vigorous hiring at Dot Foods came to an end with the COVID-19 pandemic. But when the economy picked up again last spring, the food redistributor found prospective employees less willing to work, particularly in Mount Sterling, population 1,900. So the company is dangling $1,500 to $3,000 in moving expenses for job candidates to move to rural western Illinois.

The company is piggy-backing on a post-pandemic phenomenon bolstered by the newly found freedom of working remotely. While you can’t work remotely for the Dot Foods warehouse, the company’s moving reimbursement plan mimics those of small and mid-sized cities nationwide offering cash incentives to change addresses.

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