Women are often disadvantaged in the job market for not being able to work long or inflexible hours. This is because women are commonly responsible for “a greater share of caregiving and home responsibilities,” according to Erin Jemison, public policy director at YWCA Utah. Every mom knows the importance of staying flexible especially when it comes to tending to a child that is at home with the flu, going to orthodontist appointments, chauffeuring to sports games or piano lessons, or even caring for a parent. The tricky part is knowing how to navigate all these things with a job, and let's face it, most jobs have rigid schedules and limited time off.
What happens when you are also in rural Utah and jobs are scarce? Utah’s economy is thriving but many of the state’s rural communities are not sharing in the prosperity. Unemployment rates and intergenerational poverty in many of the rural counties are much higher than state averages (some are even double).
Our legislative representatives and Utah State University Extension responded to these issues with a new pilot program to help people in the rural counties develop the skills needed to compete for remote work. The program is called the Rural Online Initiative (ROI) and provides people in rural Utah with education, training, and services for online opportunities in remote employment, freelance work, and e-commerce.
The ROI program offers a one-month course called the Master Remote Work Professional Certificate which, “prepares people to prosper in the new economy,” says Paul Hill, USU Extension Associate Professor and ROI Strategist in Washington County. There are remote jobs in almost any industry including teaching, accounting, medical coding, design, engineering, customer service, writing, editing, administrative, etc. This a game changer for women (and men); people no longer must be limited to the jobs within their own communities or the traditional 9 to 5 hours. Essentially remote work can offer flexibility, opportunity, and equality.
For information and details about the Remote Work Certificate course and program, visit https://remoteworkcertificate.com/.
GUEST BLOGGER: CALLIE WARD
My 8-year-old son, who has a love of all animals and all things outdoors, was browsing an outdoor catalog when he found something that sparked his interest – the Fly Tyer’s Special. The bundle included cockerels that produce hackle feathers, which are used for tying flies. As we talked, we realized he could start a 4-H poultry project and sell the feathers, or he could take up fly tying and turn it into a small business. With an amazing 8-year-old mind tied in with an entrepreneurial spirit, we embarked on a youth-entrepreneurship opportunity!
Entrepreneurship is widely recognized as a driver of rural economic growth and community vitality. Its creation is crucial to the economic exuberance of all communities, especially those in rural locations. So, why not prepare our youth to be entrepreneurs?
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture notes that 4-H prepares youth for successful futures with a strong emphasis on the development of life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, social skills, citizenship and leadership. These skills are fostered through educational programming grounded in the experiential learning model, better known as “learn by doing.” Through 4-H projects, youth can learn by solving problems, experimenting, replicating efforts and making mistakes.
How do we take it to the next step and make a 4-H project, hobby, or talent a youth entrepreneurship opportunity?
Often local producers and business owners can provide youth with the support to pursue their passion. This might include a financial investment, a donation (an unused sewing machine, supplies etc.), or volunteering time to educate or promote a project.
Once youth have learned by doing and are provided with support, they can transition into an opportunity for entrepreneurship by starting simply. For example, they could sell fresh-baked rolls door to door, sell produce at the farmers market, or go into the fly-tying business!
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