Column: Remote work presents opportunities for rural communities.

AWB president Kris Johnson writes that ability to work remotely can be a boon to rural communities.

One bright spot amid this ongoing pandemic is the growing role that remote work is playing in the economy, and the opportunities it’s creating for employees and communities, particularly in rural parts of the state.

When the pandemic began and large portions of the economy went into lockdown, we discovered very clearly that not all work must be done from an office. Some work can be done just as well remotely with a good broadband connection and some essential skills.

To help ensure residents in rural Washington are equipped with those skills, the AWB Institute and WSU Extension have launched the Washington Rural Initiative. The initiative, with support from companies like Avista and STCU, is modeled after a successful program in Utah called the Master Remote Work Professional Certification.

He goes into more detail in the column, which we recommend. Washington is well-positioned.

Washington’s rural population grew 9.4% from 2010 to 2020, according to recently released Census data. That’s less than the 14.7% growth in Washington’s urban areas, but a significant contrast with a national decline of 0.5% in rural population.

Rural Washington is growing already. Expanding remote work will help fuel continued growth and ensure increased prosperity in these communities.