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USU Extension Focuses on Strengthening Utah's Rural Economies

Cache Valley Daily Friday, Sep. 07, 2018


As many rural Utah residents are struggling with unemployment or underemployment, a new pilot program has been implemented by Utah State University Extension to help residents in the southern counties develop the skills needed to compete for remote employment. With the goal of strengthening the economies of rural Utah, the new Rural Online Initiative (ROI) was funded by the legislature in 2018 to allow people to develop skills so they can seek competitive remote jobs without leaving their counties. The initiative is the brainchild of Darin Bushman, county commissioner in Piute County, who was elected to office in one of the smallest, most poverty-stricken counties in Utah. ... Bushman said the idea was presented to local chamber members and other elected officials with positive response. However, finding the right organization to be the “home” for the program was a challenge. With input from another commissioner, it seemed that USU Extension would be the perfect fit because of their county outreach programs. ... White said USU Extension is in a prime position to leverage its presence in rural Utah to help residents become better equipped to work as remote employees. ... The Rural Online Initiative will host town hall meetings to attract community support and clients. Some counties will have workshops, meetings and resources available this fall, while other counties will start in 2019.



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