USU remote work programs win national award

Oct 6, 2021

  Kailey Foster: Recently, the US Economic Development Administration announced that Utah State University's remote online initiative is receiving a $1.1 million Care Act recovery assistance grant as well as other recognitions. Joining me today is Paul Hill, the director of the Remote Online Initiative to talk about these recognitions, and more.  

First, why don't you tell us how this grant money will help the rural online initiative?

Paul Hill: Well, it's gonna help us expand our program, we're currently focused on helping people in rural Utah find remote work opportunities. And we're going to be able to expand into eight new urban counties, and work with organizational leaders who are making decisions about how to adopt remote work and create hybrid organizations and help them with their remote work plans and create more remote jobs so that you can hire people not just in their county, but as well as in rural and really have access to the best talent in the world.

KF: I understand the rural online initiative was also just recognized with a national award. What was the program recognized for?

PH: Well, I think when we publish our impacts, that's really what is evaluated.  These associations look at programs and how they are being disseminated and how they've developed and ultimately the impact that they've made. 

In our case, looking at job placements, and helping business leaders adopt remote work in the state of Utah that have also been adopted and other states that have looked to us as a leader and Rural Economic Development. It's nice to get recognized for the difference that your programs make in in the country.

KF: And what does the future hold for this program?

PH: Well, the next thing is, is really working with our business leaders in the process of adopting remote work. The rapid implementation of remote work in response to COVID was not a lot of time that went into implementation.

So, there's this adoption as a process and we're helping business leaders really go through that process, think through make plans, and then help them grow and expand as we come out of COVID and recover. 

But as far as as far as the future holds, we definitely want to be involved in helping our ag producers become more profitable, develop value added business ideas, get vertically integrated and go direct to the consumer. There's also opportunities, just thinking about helping people adopt telemedicine and learn how to do that in our rural communities of the state. 

I got a million more ideas, but those are just some things that we'll be moving forward with in the future.