Robust broadband connections in rural Utah have proven indispensable for 28 Carbon County residents recently hired by HealthEquity. The nationwide health savings account administrator has partnered with Accelerant to hire and train the new employees to work remotely from Price, Utah, where the unemployment rate is 5.8 percent. Statewide, Utah has a 3.2 percent unemployment rate.
The vision to connect struggling rural communities to the economic prosperity along the Wasatch Front was created and executed by Accelerant. The company’s workforce model uses “Opportunity Hubs” to train and connect rural residents with the digital skills needed for employment with urban based companies that desperately need skilled workers.
Once rural residents have received the education needed, the 28 new HealthEquity employees can telecommute from their homes. Many rural areas across the United States lack the broadband access required to make this arrangement possible. In Utah, however, some rural residents can get fiber to the home. The service provider for Accelerant’s Price Opportunity Hub is Emery Telcom.
The idea for Accelerant’s model was generated, in-part, from the direct experience of a Utah Broadband Advisory Council member and former broadband provider. Dean Lundberg, former CEO and co-founder of Wildfire Broadband, started Accelerant along with Joel McKay Smith. Lundberg’s knowledge of Utah’s exceptional broadband service in rural areas proved an asset for developing the Opportunity Hub model.
Draper based HealthEquity has added 207 new jobs in the State of Utah in less than a year. This recent hiring is a prime example of how to tap into new talent pools outside the Wasatch Front. The City of Price will see an important economic impact with the employment of 28 residents with full-time, benefitted, Wasatch Front-equivalent wages.
As Joel Smith explains, “Utah’s growing companies need skilled employees. Our experience with HealthEquity in partnering on this initiative has been incredible. The talent found has exceeded expectations.”
Such innovative workforce solutions are possible with reliable and fast Internet. By connecting rural residents with urban employers, communities in the Uintah Basin that have been hit by economic setbacks in the oil and gas industries can diversify local economies. Overtime, such diversification will help stabilize the economies of Utah’s rural counties.
To view a video featuring affected Price residents, click on the image below:
See HealthEquity and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s press release here: