Making Remote Work: Utah Extension creates opportunities

When USU offered the first cohort four years ago, fewer than 6% of Americans worked primarily from home, according to the American Community Survey. Post-COVID, organizations scrambled to keep business operations going virtually and as many as 35% of employees were working remotely by May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A March 2022 BLS report showed that this number has fallen to 10%, closer to but still higher than the pre-pandemic level.

Join the Remote Work Movement

The ROI program is an asset not only to Utah but to any state looking for solutions to rural unemployment, economic diversification, and rural-urban migration. Through the ROI affiliate program, Extension professionals across the country can connect talent in their rural communities to meaningful remote work opportunities regardless of where the employer is based. Here’s a basic roadmap for Extension professionals considering whether to launch a remote work development program in their states: Step 1: Complete the MRWP course — this is the best way to understand the program and what it offers. MRWP certification is also required to become an affiliate program coordinator. 

 Step 2: Meet one-on-one (virtually, of course) with ROI program leaders to go over the process of becoming an affiliate.

 Step 3: Meet with a program leader to discuss implementation in your state (e.g., student intake, payment methods, training, marketing materials, co-branding, etc.) The momentum of the ROI program is strong. People across rural Utah (and, increasingly, other states) are overwhelmingly open to the opportunity of remote work — they are innovative and eager to learn new skills that will allow them to prosper in a changing economy. Predictions vary for how prevalent remote work will be in 2023 and beyond, but the general consensus seems to be that the number will stay higher than it was — especially for higher-paying jobs — for the foreseeable future.

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