North Branch And Chisago County are certified as telecommuter-friendly communities

I wrote about the big announcement from DEED’s Telecommuter Forward Program last week, but it’s always fun to see local communities get local recognition for their efforts. Isanti-Chisago County Star report

For a long time now, one of the biggest pet projects for the North Branch council and staff has been trying to bring high-speed internet to the entire area, something that is desperately needed even near downtown North Branch. To that extent, back in February, the council approved a resolution in support of Telecommuting Opportunities and Telecommuter Forward Certification, which is a bill passed by the State Legislature in 2019. North Branch was one of only 23 cities, counties, or townships to formally get on board with the initiative. Chisago County was also one of these 23 communities.

While there has so far been minimal advancement in the area with high-speed internet – even despite the increased emphasis in the need due to more people working from home and distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the city was recently honored by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for being a “Telecommuter Forward Community.”

Local leaders commented…

“We, as a community, want broadband in every single household,” said North Branch Mayor Jim Swenson. “They all deserve to have broadband. North Branch has got a plan for our community and we are ready and willing to be the leaders in the state of Minnesota.”

“As the city went through its rebranding process about a year ago, we really identified the city of North Branch as the place to work, live and play,” said City Administrator Renae Fry, who was designated as the single point of contact for coordinating telecommuting opportunities within North Branch – a mandatory component of becoming a Telecommuting Forward community. “My city council, my mayor, my staff have been committed to making sure that individuals who choose to work from home have the resources to do so.”

This entry was posted in economic development, MN, Opportunities by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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