The MN Dept. of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) Office of Broadband Development certifies Telecommuter Forward! Communities that adopt a resolution of support and commitment to promote telecommuting. This certification helps communities promote themselves as destinations for Minnesotans interested in telecommuting.
See the USDA Rural Development Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. Note that Rural Development is a traditional funder of cooperatives, and that RS Fiber is the latest co-op (though without RD dollars) to bring high-speed Internet service to people over 700 square miles centered on Winthrop and Gaylord. RS Fiber relied on county and city bonding authority and community banks.
Learn more about broadband access and tips for transformation with Blandin Foundation resources.
See the Indicators of Broadband Need Map from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The map uses several different data sources to show information on broadband availability (darker red indicates more of a need).
Complete these workplace practices: multi-modal directions; accessible off-site locations; educate management & staff; buddy system; new hire orientation; travel logs.
Complete 4 of these practices -- alternative compensation for travel options; join a transportation network; shower/changing room; bike parking/storage; employee learning activity; transportation committee; flexible workplace policies/practices. Support an eWorkPlace Minnesota campaign or similar efforts, working with businesses (and transportation management organizations as appropriate); report level of fiber-optic infrastructure in city government buildings/citywide
Complete 6 of the practices in the 2-star list; help bring telemedicine technology to town via a local health care provider or other organization; be certified as a Telecommuter Forward! Community.
Who's doing it
North Branch - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
North Branch Meets Demand for High-Speed Internet. Governor Walz along with Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove and others came to North Branch to announce that North Branch was among 23 cities and counties to be recognized as a Telecommuter Forward! Community.
City is moving towards cloud based systems to make telework possible. This provides for better efficiency and flexibility for employees. Throughout the pandemic, eligible city employees were able to work remotely and did not affect the operations of the City and continued to serve its residents and was open to public.
With the advent of COVID in 2020, many City staff began working from home. Flexible work-from-home options will continue to be available to some city staff at least through summer 2021. City Council and various Commission meetings are now available to the public for online streaming and virtual participation, reducing vehicle trips to city hall.
In 2019 Duluth purchased 4 E-Bikes for employees at City Hall and the Property and Facilities Management building to utilize for transportation to/from meetings, recreation, or errands. From May-October the bikes collectively rode 660 miles and saved 30 gallons of gas.
While the City doesn't have an official telework/flexwork policy the union contract allows employees to request adjusted schedules if necessary. These adjusted schedules are developed with and approved by the employee's supervisor to ensure that they don't interfere with the completion of the employee's job duties.
The current policy for City employees is that alternative work schedules must be approved by the City Administrator. Working from home on an occasional basis can be scheduled...the City has purchased surface computers for each Department Head to allow that to occur more easily.
Isanti recently amended their Personnel Policy to allow for temporary flexible scheduling when approved by the City Administrator and permanent flexible scheduling when approved by the Personnel Committee. Isanti also permits working from home when prior authorization is received.
The City of Richfield has a telecommuting policy for all employees who are able to work from home per job responsibilities. Several city buildings have shower/changing rooms for employee use as well as bike parking.