Polk County Receives Telecommuter Forward! Community Certification

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Polk County has been certified as a Telecommuter Forward! community by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.  The Telecommuter Forward! certification recognizes local units of government that have met criteria for promoting telecommuting opportunities in partnership with broadband providers, economic development professionals, and the State Broadband Office.

2017 Act 342 created Wisconsin’s Telecommuter Forward! community certification program and it became the first-in-the-nation state program to promote telecommuting.

In order to become certified, Wisconsin cities, villages, towns or counties must adopt a resolution that includes a statement of support and commitment to promote telecommuting.  The resolution must also designate a single point of contact for coordinating telecommuting opportunities.  The resolution contains the responsibilities of the single point of contact, including coordinating and partnering with telecommuting stakeholders, and collaborating with broadband providers and employers.  In Polk County, Vince Netherland of the Polk County Economic Development Corporation has been designated as the local point person.

“The 2019-2021 state budget allocated a historic $48 million in funding for broadband access across Wisconsin.  This funding will provide Wisconsin’s families and businesses with the technology and information they need to prosper in today’s global economy.  The need for access to reliable, high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity,” said Governor Tony Evers.  “We recognize that broadband access is critical for a modern commercial environment, enabling businesses to reach customers and suppliers, and permitting individuals to work from home.”

In 2014, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin began awarding Broadband Expansion Grants to underserved areas of the state, and in 2016 it began certifying communities that have taken steps to remove barriers to broadband infrastructure investment through the Broadband Forward! program.  Telecommuter Forward! is the next chapter in Wisconsin’s broadband expansion story.

“Thanks to private and public investment in broadband infrastructure, Telecommuter Forward! certification will serve as another economic development tool to promote the vitality of Wisconsin’s communities,” said Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Chairperson Rebecca Cameron Valcq.

For communities interested in the Telecommuter Forward! community certification, or those who would like information on services offered by the State Broadband Office, please visit: https://psc.wi.gov/Pages/Programs/WBO.aspx.  They may also contact Vince Netherland at director@polkcountyedc.com

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The Polk County Economic Development Corporation is a public-private organization that was created to encourage and promote economic development and capital investment, create and retain quality jobs, enhance the tax base and facilitate positive sustainable growth throughout Polk County, Wisconsin.

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