Remote Working Opportunities on the Rise in Rural Utah


A pair of executive orders that were issued by Utah Governor Spencer Cox on Monday will have all Utah agencies required to review the jobs that could be conducted remotely or relocated to rural parts of the state.

These orders were signed by both Gov. Cox and Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson from the remote office on the Southern Utah University campus. Other organizations are on board with making this a possibility, such as the Rural Online Initiative through Utah State University that has been underway for some time.

Rural Online Initiative (ROI) Program Coordinator Jordan Leonard stated that the program provides training for remote work skills as well as online tools that will allow Utah residents to use existing skills to find opportunities as remote workers, freelancers and entrepreneurs.

The ROI offers a four-week Master Remote Work Professional (MRWP) certification course that prepares individuals for remote work. There is also a related Master Remote Work Leader course that assists business leaders in developing and implementing remote work plans and policies.

Leonard stated that the MRWP student course consists of nine online and interactive learning modules as well as four live Zoom workshops. The modules may be completed independently, which can be convenient for participants. The live workshops take place on Thursdays at either 1 p.m. or 6 p.m. Students must have access to an internet-connected desktop, laptop or tablet with a camera and microphone to participate.

The next course begins on Feb. 1 and the program costs only $20 for residents in rural counties. Participants also have an opportunity at the end of the course to meet one-on-one via Zoom with a program coordinator for a career planning meeting.

“We are really eager to have folks sign up for class and learn the tools needed to be successful at remote work,” Leonard said.

Over 200 computers have also been given to graduates and young 4H students to assist them on their journey. Those interested in the courses may apply here.

With all of these work opportunities being focused on rural Utah, many may be questioning what the benefits of living rural are. Carbon County Commissioner Casey Hopes took the time to give some insight on the perks and benefits of living in a rural area. He stated that there are many advantages to living in rural Utah, with those that work in Carbon and Emery counties enjoying a lifestyle filled with many opportunities.

“There is an opportunity for those living in rural areas to have a fulfilling career while at the same time enjoying all of our outdoor activities and hobbies. It’s also nice that our daily commute doesn’t vary, even if there is increased traffic,” Commissioners Hopes stated.

He continued by stating that, due to not being a large metropolitan area, it is easier for the local internet provider to be able to install fiber to every home and business, which Commissioner Hopes credits as an amazing benefit to the community. He remarked that the internet speeds in the area are much faster than many on the Wasatch Front.

Commissioner Hopes then stated that Carbon and Emery counties are home to some of the most affordable housing costs in the state. With housing demands on the Wasatch Front continuing to climb, homes in the region have stayed mostly level with a slight increase in the last year. It also helps that there is a close proximity to grocery stores, athletic opportunities and outdoor recreation.

“You really don’t need to drive large distances to get what you need or enjoy the outdoor recreation of your choice. If outdoor recreation is not your thing, then it is exciting to see the increase in cultural opportunities in our area,” Commissioner Hopes said. “We are seeing more and more emphasis on creating things like Culture Connection and First Fridays in Helper. There is also a growing number of artists creating a good vibe and helping us to round out our cultural opportunities.”

He stated that with the vaccine for COVID-19 being administered, he is hopeful that there will be a resurgence of the concerts, musicals and plays that have been a running tradition in the area’s yearly activities. Commissioner Hopes then turned his focus to the education system, stating that from elementary to high school, he has been impressed with the quality of the teachers.

The teachers are able to better connect with students and give each student more individualized attention thanks to smaller class sizes, Hopes explained. Many extracurricular activities, such as sports, choir, band and more, are additional offerings for the youth. Commissioner Hopes also remarked that it is fortunate to have a university in the area.

“USU Eastern is like having the best of both worlds. Because it is part of the Utah State name, students are able to receive a number of degrees in a wide variety of fields of study. However, and keeping in touch with its past, USU-E also provides a wide range of vocations trainings, thus providing opportunity for a wide range of careers and opportunity,” he concluded.

scroll to top