It’s not every day that the Norvado offices receive a visit from a state legislator and a member of the Public Service Commission. But then again, launching a program as important as Telecommuter Forward! isn’t an everyday occurrence.
We were excited to welcome state Sen. Janet Bewley, District 74 Rep. Beth Meyers, and PSC Broadband Director Angie Dickison as they shared their thoughts about what makes Telecommuter Forward! so remarkable.
“Telecommuter Forward! gets to what’s always been my hope with broadband investment: that communities would start using that broadband infrastructure as another tool in their economic development tool belt,” said Dickison. “That’s exactly what you’re doing here, and I think you’re to be commended.”
Bayfield County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Scottie Sandstrom; Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association Executive Director Bill Esbeck; and James Miller, outreach representative for U.S. Representative Sean Duffy, also joined Norvado for the presentation of Bayfield County’s Telecommuter Forward! certification.
Telecommuter Forward! is the third phase in a four-year effort focused on expanding broadband capabilities statewide. Since 2014, Norvado has worked closely with the PSC, Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association and local lawmakers to shape new laws that incentivize communities, especially in rural parts of the state, to develop crucial broadband infrastructure.
Earlier this year, the Wisconsin legislature passed a law that gives cities, villages, towns or counties the ability to earn designation as a Telecommuter Forward! community. A community must demonstrate that they are committed to promoting the availability of telecommuting options and that they have established a single point of contact to streamline the process for potential employers.
By earning their Telecommuter Forward! certification, communities throughout the state send a message to businesses that they are ready to help them bring new employment opportunities to their residents.
“One of the things I believe we’re up against in northern Wisconsin is the fact that we have an aging population,” said Meyers. “We need to figure out ways to keep our younger people here or to recruit younger families, and this is a perfect way to do that.”
Norvado CEO Chad Young added that not only does he look forward to Wisconsin residents having more flexibility in their job prospects, but he also expects to see more people drawn in by the state’s natural beauty.
“There’s no place more beautiful than Cable, and I know there are many people who would choose to live and work here if they could,” he said. “Telecommuter Forward! is really the path to the future. I’m excited about the opportunities it will create for the people of Wisconsin, but I’m also looking forward to the growth I think we’ll see as a result.”