MSU Extension offers certification program to boost remote work in rural areas – Williston Daily Herald

Montana State University Extension will soon offer a program to help rural Montana residents gain skills needed to work from home as a remote employee, freelancer or entrepreneur.

“This educational program will help people living in rural communities gain the skills needed to access high-paying jobs and larger markets for their business while remaining in their rural communities,” said Cody Stone, MSU Extension executive director. “This program has the potential to strengthen the economic well-being of individuals, families and communities, which is central to the mission of MSU Extension.”

The month-long course, called the Master Remote Work Professional Certification program, consists of nine core modules, which are delivered in a self-paced, online format, along with four discussion-based virtual workshops. The course was developed by Utah State University Extension and is offered in Montana through a partnership with MSU Extension.

MSU Extension faculty will serve as coaches for Montana participants. Upon course completion, graduates will receive help finding a remote job through specialists from Job Service Montana. Graduates interested in creating or expanding a remote business will have access to Accelerate Montana’s Rural Innovation Initiative at the University of Montana to help them increase business.

In addition to learning how to use Zoom, Slack and other web applications useful for remote work, participants will learn skills crucial to working with a long-distance team, such as written communication, problem solving, time management, collaboration, goal setting, organization, accountability and how to conduct a successful job hunt.

“Remote work can have significant benefits for our rural communities,” said Tara Mastel, Remote Work Program coordinator and MSU Extension community development program leader. “Remote work can infuse more money into the local economy, allow people to find jobs that match their skills and experience and allow people to still enjoy living in a rural setting.”

“This remote work program will assist Montana residents who are currently unemployed, underemployed or have dropped out of the workforce to obtain freelance jobs, remote employment or online commerce opportunities,” Mastel said.

Participants who complete the program will join a growing online community of remote work professionals who support each other by sharing best practices and job opportunities.

For more information about the Master Remote Work Professional Certification program, contact Mastel at

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