Monday Update: Remote Work Certificate

June 7, 2021

Business shutdowns in 2020 introduced many Iowans to remote work. Some experienced it first hand, moving their “office” to their home in a pandemic pivot. Others, as they learned about the concept, may have wondered if working remotely might connect them to new employment opportunities. Whatever their situation, Iowans can gain the skills they need to be successful through the Remote Work Certificate. ISU Extension and Outreach now offers the virtual course in partnership with Utah State University Extension. Did you know?

  • 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.
  • Five human sciences specialists coordinate the course and provide support for participants.
  • Ten people already have completed the course and 13 are beginning the course today. Information about upcoming sessions is available on the Human Sciences Extension and Outreach website.

Participants take the course for many reasons, says Brenda Schmitt, one of the course coordinators. 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.

Like many of our program specialists, Brenda has been working remotely for many years. Even so, before they began coordinating the course for Iowans, she and her team completed the course themselves. Now they are working with the same knowledge base and understanding of how to work remotely with increased efficiency and effectiveness. She encourages other extension work teams to complete the course as well.

Remembering Jim Harken

Former regional director Jim Harken passed away June 3. His obituary is posted on the Stewart Baxter Funeral and Memorial Services website. Jim was an important part of our ISU Extension and Outreach family for several years, serving first as a project manager in the County Services office on campus, then as regional director, and often as co-host and MC of our Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony. We extend our deepest sympathy to Jim’s family.

More notes

  • Our next Second Monday Live is 10 a.m., June 14 on WebEx at Join the WebEx room using password “extsml”. Behaviorial health specialist David Brown will discuss ISU Extension and Outreach’s role and limitations in addressing mental health. He also will discuss the training opportunities to provide staff with basic knowledge and understanding of how to gently direct clients to appropriate resources. Second Monday Live will be on hiatus in July and August, returning in September.
  • Our Rising Star interns have been on the job for three weeks. You can follow their progress on the Rising Star Blog.
  • You can add engaging literacy activities to your county fair with Read Across the Fair resources from our Read Across Iowa team. You can find materials for a scavenger hunt, Story Walk, and more in the Read Across Iowa educational materials CyBox folder that is linked in MyExtension. For more information, contact Connie Beecher,, or Sara Nelson,

John D. Lawrence
Vice President for Extension and Outreach