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USU Extension ROI Program Receives National Recognition


Recently, the US Economic Development Administration announced that Utah State University's Remote Online Initiative program 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.

Kailey Foster- why don't you tell us how this grant money will help the rural online initiative?

Paul Hill- Well, it's going to help us expand our program. We are currently focusing on helping people in rural Utah find remote work opportunities.

We will be expanding into eight new urban counties and working with organizational leaders to adopt remote work and create hybrid organizations. We will be able to help them with their remote work plans and create more remote jobs. This training makes it so they can hire people, not just in their county, but in rural counties as well, and 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, our impacts are evaluated. Award associations look at all sorts of programs, how they are spread, and 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. These have been adopted in other states that look to us as a leader in 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 working with our business leaders in the process of adopting remote work. The rapid implementation of remote work in response to COVID-19 was not a lot of time. And so there's this adoption of the process, and we're helping business leaders go through that process, think through making plans, and then help them grow and expand as we come out of COVID and recover.

But, as far as the future holds, we want to be involved in helping our producers become more profitable, develop value-added business ideas, get vertically integrated, and go direct to the consumer.

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

KF-And many people have worked remotely at some point over the past year. If our listeners wanted to find more information on how to be more successful in this type of work, where can they go?

PH-Oh, you want to visit that's our USU Extension program, where we help individuals and business leaders adapt to remote work environments. We teach everyone not only the best practices of remote work, but how to find a remote job, and how to implement remote work within your respective organizations.

Kailey Foster is a senior at Utah State University studying Agricultural Communications, Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science while also getting a minor in Agribusiness. She was raised in the dairy industry in Rhode Island where she found her passion for the agriculture industry as a whole. Here at USU, she has held various leadership positions in the Dairy Science Club and the local Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. She also also served as the 2020 Utah Miss Agriculture and is currently the 2021 Utah Ms. Agriculture. Here at UPR, she works on agriculture news stories and she produces agriculture segments such as USU Extension Highlights, the Green Thumb, and Ag Matters.