Remote Work Certificate Opens Employment Possibilities

April 19, 2021, 1:42 pm | Brenda Schmitt

man participates in computer video conference while working from home by insta_photos/, Iowa – Over the past year, many Iowans have experienced working remotely. Their experiences have convinced them – and their employers – that remote work can continue to be a viable option, with or without a pandemic.

“Remote work is likely here to stay,” said Brenda Schmitt, a human sciences specialist in family finance with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Having the skills to be successful in remote work can open employment possibilities for Iowans no matter where they live.”

Iowans can gain these skills through the Remote Work Certificate. ISU Extension and Outreach offers the virtual course in partnership with Utah State University Extension.

The four-week course is open to adult learners and requires approximately 30 hours to complete. Participants work at their own pace but must participate in four weekly virtual workshops and submit weekly assignments.

“The course simulates remote work,” Schmitt explained. “Participants work independently on the assignments and meet as a group each week for one-hour via Zoom to practice technology, etiquette and virtual small-group work. Participants are divided into work groups made up of individuals across the U.S. to complete a project.”

Participants must have broadband internet access, a Web camera and microphone, and basic computer proficiency. The course registration fee is $249 and upon completion participants receive a Remote Work Certificate.

A new session begins each month, except in July and December. Upcoming sessions are listed and registration information is available on the Human Sciences Extension and Outreach website at

Five human sciences specialists coordinate the course and provide support for participants. At the end of the four-week course, participants who would like one-on-one assistance in setting career goals, identifying gaps in skills and finding opportunities for remote work can schedule time with a specialist.

Participants take the course for many reasons, Schmitt noted. Some are preparing for remote employment. Some are transitioning from an on-site job to remote work. Others are looking for professional development and are investing in themselves. Remote work can provide self-employed entrepreneurs with flexibility and access to a larger pool of contract work to select from as they build their business.

The course also is appropriate for high school seniors who want to enter the workforce upon graduation, Schmitt continued. Many already possess the necessary technology skills, and the course can add the experience of remote work that may appeal to potential employers.

“Other students will find remote work valuable as they pay their way through college. By working remotely, they won’t have to find a different job when they return home during semester breaks,” Schmitt said.

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