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Cook County among 23 Minnesota communities recognized as Telecommuter-Friendly communities

Aug 25, 2020 11:59AM ● By Editor

Photo: Huffington Post

From the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development - August 24. 2020

Earlier this month, Governor Tim Walz issued a proclamation congratulating 23 cities, townships and counties across Minnesota as telecommuter-friendly communities and declared August 7, 2020 as Telecommuter Forward! Day in the State of Minnesota. The communities commit to coordinating and partnering with broadband providers, realtors, economic development professionals, employers, employees, and other stakeholders to promote the availability of telecommuting options in their region.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear how important it is for the state to support telecommuting capabilities,” said Governor Walz. “This initiative will help ensure options for remote work expand in our state, improving the quality of life for employees and encouraging economic vitality in communities throughout Minnesota.”

“As Minnesotans have balanced work, school, and life from their kitchen tables, the need for telecommuter-friendly cities is more apparent than ever,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “The collaboration and support that telecommuter-friendly communities offer are critical to providing the flexibility Minnesotans need in the modern workplace.”

“We know that more Minnesotans than ever before are telecommuting for work,” said Steve Grove, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). “As we help Minnesota’s economy recover from the pandemic, telecommuter-friendly policies add new opportunities for civic engagement and collaboration among Minnesota’s businesses, entrepreneurs and communities.”

The number of workers teleworking was already increasing prior to the pandemic but jumped to nearly 45% in recent months. Data suggests that more than 1 million Minnesotans are now doing at least some work remotely, accounting for well over one-third of Minnesota’s labor force.

The Minnesota State Legislature passed Telecommuter Forward! Certification in 2019, and Governor Walz signed it into law. Under the law, communities must adopt a model resolution that includes a statement of support for telecommuting and a single point of contact for coordinating telecommuting opportunities within their community. Minnesota communities that wish to become a Telecommuter Forward! Community can find the resolution template from the Office of Broadband Development on DEED’s website .

The first group of communities certified as telecommuter-friendly are:

  • Albany – City
  • Balaton – City
  • Beltrami – County
  • Big Lake – City
  • Big Stone – County
  • Bigfork – City
  • Chisago – County
  • Cook – County
  • Greenvale – Township
  • Halstad – City
  • Lake Benton – City
  • Lake Crystal – City
  • Lincoln – County
  • Madelia – City
  • Martin – County
  • Monticello – City
  • North Branch – City
  • Preston – City
  • Sherburne – County
  • Spring Grove – City
  • Swift – County
  • Warren – City
  • Windom – City

Since 2014, DEED has awarded over $105 million in broadband infrastructure grants to fund 140 projects across Minnesota, with the goal of border-to-border broadband access. Reliable high-speed internet access is recognized as essential for successful telecommuting. This certification expands upon border-to-border broadband efforts by providing a way for communities to promote themselves to Minnesotans interested in telecommuting and to businesses that support growing their telecommuting workforce.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services visit the DEED website or follow DEED on Twitter.

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