Here\u2019s another case where a bottom-up strategy is more effective than top-down one - specifically in creating rural jobs. Unlike the Washington State University\u2019s Rural Telework Project, which tried to lure large firms into opening facilities in remote areas, Utah\u2019s Smart Site program helps rural entrepreneurs create jobs by providing technology equipment and training.Here\u2019s another case where a bottom-up strategy is more effective than top-down one - specifically in creating rural jobs. Unlike the Washington State University\u2019s Rural Telework Project, which tried to lure large firms into\u00a0opening facilities in remote areas, Utah\u2019s Smart Site program helps rural entrepreneurs create jobs by providing technology equipment and training.The results are impressive. In three years,\u00a0Utah Smart Site\u00a0has signed on 40 companies that have brought 750 new IT jobs to the region.\u201cThe guy in the basement is a lone eagle. He\u2019s got a lot of skills he can bring out of the basement, or out of the closet, by hiring three or four people,\u201d says Smart Site marketing director Les Prall.So can the home-based medical transcriptionist in Tropic, Utah (near Bryce Canyon National Park), who grew her company from two employees in the basement (who\u2019d bring their kids to work) to eight in an office. In Moab, where John Wayne westerns were often shot, two tiny digital media companies have cropped up. In St. George, a development firm creating maintenance and safety inspection software for handhelds is paying in the $40,000 to $60,000 range.Rural Utah is mostly government-owned land; industry is dominated by cattle ranching, coal mining, and increasingly, tourism. Economic development organizations working to build power plants and protect ranchers\u2019 interests butt heads with environmental groups fighting to keep the state\u2019s canyons, mountains and deserts pristine. IT jobs offer an option both sides can live with.Communities eager to diversify by becoming Smart Sites do all the work. They form a coalition of local economic development leaders, business people and educators, then recruit local entrepreneurs already providing IT services. The group then puts together the elements to make IT job creation possible. They find a facility, ensure there\u2019s adequate bandwidth, suitable job candidates and training.\u201cThen we need to compete. Rural people work for less, everything costs less. Put it all together and you have a value proposition to make a business profitable,\u201d Prall says.The three-year project \u2014 which will end in June - is funded with a mix of state and federal funds and sector matching grants totaling about $3 million. The program provides the tech equipment \u2014 PCs, servers and switches \u2014 but maintains ownership, so if the company fails, the state\u2019s investment is protected.Part of what\u2019s made Utah Smart Site so successful is its insistence on promoting only high quality, higher ($10-to $20-per-hour) wage jobs like software development and Web design. The group eschews telemarketing companies because the jobs are low paying and the field is unstable.\u00a0As the number of Smart Site companies has grown, the group helps them network together. And even though Utah can\u2019t by law give these rural companies preference when bidding for contracts, the state legislature recently passed a law enabling Smart Site to give year-end bonuses to state agencies that hire them.While most of the 40 companies are very small, that\u2019s changing. Salt Lake City based Zions Bank, which has 400 branches in eight western states, recently opened a satellite helpdesk center in the Arizona border town Kanab, Utah, near Lake Powell. It\u2019s hired 30 employees with plans to grow to 40. And ACS, a $4 billion IT outsourcing firm, opened a data input facility also in Kanab to service a single client that didn\u2019t want its work sent overseas.While at-home work isn\u2019t a focus, Utah Smart Site considers medical coding a good fit for it. The group has begun discussions with large Utah metropolitan hospitals, trying to convince them to move their medical coders out of the basement and into rural home offices. And if Smart Site can provide certified workers who pass its entrance exam, a large Birmingham, Ala., medical outsourcer says it will hire five Utahans for a telework pilot program.