Governor Tim Walz issued a proclamation Friday 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 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.
Among the first group of communities certified as telecommuter-friendly are Big Stone County and Swift County.
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.