Broadband: Jobs in rural MN


by Ann Treacy | March 29, 2009 • In my quest for good Minnesota broadband stories, I ran into Sylvia Wulf and CrossUSA. Sylvia works as a Systems Analyst for CrossUSA in Sebeka. Sylvia grew up just north of that area but ended up in Sebeka because her parents moved there.

Blandin on Broadband offers information on broadband use, access, and trends especially in rural Minnesota. Sponsored by the Blandin Foundation and their Broadband Initiative.

Sylvia lived and worked as a programmer in California. When she got divorced, she moved with her two sons back to Minnesota. Her parents had left them a house in Sebeka. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get a job as a programmer in the area. So she got different jobs, working in retail or at a local hotel. Actually she often worked two jobs as she raised her sons.

In 1998 that changed, she was one of the first employees hired at CrossUSA and she has been there ever since. As Sylvia said, “It has been a Godsend and that is not stretching the truth.”

CrossUSA provides IT consulting staff to companies through-out the United States; generally the staff works offsite at a CrossUSA office, although some work onsite and a couple telecommute. CrossUSA is an alternative to off-shore resourcing. They are head quartered in Burnsville, MN and besides Sebeka also have a Rural Development Center in Eveleth, they employ about 15 people in Burnsville, 25 in Sebeka, and 30 in Eveleth.

Sylvia currently is a Team Lead at CrossUSA, she and her group support a legacy IBM mainframe system for UnitedHealth Group’s Corporate Systems, which is part UHG’s Accounts Receivable Department.

CrossUSA gets broadband from West Central Telephone Association. WCTA seems to be another local provider that’s doing a good job serving the needs of their customers. Here’s the info they sent me on Cross USA’s connection:

Cross USA-Currently have 5 Meg/5 Meg Internet Service, we are serving that Internet connection with a VLAN. Over that Internet connection they are using VoiP to connect to their other locations. They are planning an upgrade to their phone system this fall to an all IP based phone system which will also support TDM.

For Sylvia, having a job that meets her qualifications has made a huge difference in the quality of her life. She is down to one job and is working a job that meets her skills.

As Sylvia says, “We [CrossUSA] have had a very positive effect on the economy of Sebeka and the surrounding community. Most of us own our own homes, all of us near lakes and resorts and other recreation areas, away from the city and all it means.”