OzSBI to Host Free Introduction to Professional Remote Work Certification Series

WEST PLAINS – The Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI) will host a free introduction to a master remote work professional online certification series led by the University of Missouri Extension (MU Extension) on February 12, 2020, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. 

Looking for ways to increase economic opportunity for struggling residents in rural parts of Missouri, MU Extension has collaborated with Utah State Extension to implement a new program to allow for more remote work opportunities over online platforms. The “Rural Online Initiative” launched a pilot program in 2019 for Missouri Residents. The program is being implemented by MU Extension to help residents in rural counties develop the skills needed to compete for remote employment.

Michele M. Kroll, MU Extension County Engagement Specialist in Community Economic Development, will facilitate the introduction. Kroll explained implementing the certification series was a “no brainer.” 

“I sat in meeting after meeting with rural leaders discussing brain drain and lack of ability to attract young professional families with good paying benefit eligible jobs. When I saw this program, I thought it was a no brainer. Why can’t our citizens, with skills to offer, be the ones doing this job rather than someone halfway around the world,” Kroll said. “Our local people can be the ones taking advantage of these online opportunities and marketing their skills outside the bounds of their current geography.”

“We also wanted to target high school students nearing graduation who were not pursuing higher education to avail them of the opportunities that exist online,” Kroll said, “which could help reduce the net migration from rural Missouri counties.”

With a network of remote education sites already established, MU Extension will offer a new certificate course designed by Utah State Extension specifically developed to help people succeed as online freelance or remote employees.

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

“High school students, college students, retirees and everyone in between can participate successfully,” Kroll said. “Participants need to have basic technical literacy, access to a computer and broadband internet, previous work experience and knowledge-based work interest.

Kroll said they expect the program will help reduce unemployment, change attitudes regarding remote work opportunities, increase income and quality of life and retain community members, such as recent high school graduates, who want to continue living in rural Missouri.

While the program is intended for rural citizens, Kroll said people in more urban areas could also participate in the certification program. 

To register for the free, one-hour introduction to the remote work certification series, visit www.ozsbi.com/events or call 417-256-9724. Please note registration deadlines are listed online. 

For more information about the Remote Work Professional Certificate online program visit: https://remoteworkcertificate.com/mrwpc. Information and 2020 dates for the full certification program will be discussed at the series introduction on February 12th.