For residents of rural communities the choice between living in an area they love and working in a job they love can at times be difficult. Often the desire to maintain a more peaceful lifestyle in the country requires long commutes to find that perfect job.

Thanks to a new program developed by the University of Missouri Extension in conjunction with Utah State Extension, rural residents can develop the skills needed to compete for remote employment.

According to a release from MU Extension, “the Rural Online Initiative is a resource designed to help teach rural communities and their citizens how to capitalize on the remote work revolution and use virtual jobs to revive their economies.”

With a growth rate of over 159% since 2005, remote work has the potential to offer new work opportunities for many residents.

“The Remote Work course will give participants the skills necessary to remote work in any form of work that does not require the worker to regularly commute to and work from a centralized location,” Blake Gazaway commented. “This means they can live where they want, in their community, and still have gainful employment.”

Gazaway who serves as the Pettis County Community Engagement specialist and 4-H Youth Development Specialist West Central Region MU Extension, said while similar programs have been offered in the past, this is a new program.

Remote work presents a new opportunity for many professionals to access jobs outside of their communities. Some of the top remote career fields include jobs in medical and health fields, computer and customer service. However, the skills and tools needed to successfully work remotely are different than traditional office-based employment. 

The course will help develop the skills and master those tools, including learning how to set up a remote work space, coordinate a virtual meeting, productivity and time management methods, elements of workflow as well as tools such as Trello and Slack according to Michelle Kroll, Community Economic Development, MU Extension.  

“This online certification is designed to equip workers with the tools and skills needed to transition from on-site work into a remote career,” Kroll stated in a release. “This is a four-week blended certificate course, combining online work (Canvas) with interactive virtual workshops (Zoom). Each individual enrolled in the course is part of a cohort and will work together with other learners to expand their skills.”

The program begins Oct. 7. A second program will be offered in November. 

“Completing the ‘Master Remote Work Professional’ course and earning a certificate will prepare people to prosper in the new economy,“ Paul Hill, Utah State University Extension associate professor commented in the release. “After meeting the skill requirements and earning their certificates, ROI clients will be assisted with job placement in partnership with the National Workforce Service Database.” 

According to Kroll participants need to have basic technical literacy abilities, access to a computer and broadband internet service, previous work experience, and knowledge-based work interests

“High school students, college students, retirees, and everyone in between can complete this course successfully,” Kroll added.


A Facebook live event will be offered at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 26, 2019, to answer questions. For more information contact, Kroll at 573-346-2644 or

Use these links to register online for the October or November Course . For more information about the Remote Work Professional Certificate online program visit:

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.