Building digital economies across rural America

Through our work with communities across the country, we have learned that it is essential to work on multiple fronts at the same time: if you train workers to code, but they can’t find local or remote coding jobs, these newly-skilled workers will leave the area. And if you help people find remote work or start digital businesses but you don’t have spaces for these digital workers to connect and cross-pollinate, they may leave or lose momentum.

Our comprehensive approach

Right now, 13% of America’s workforce lives in rural America but only 5% of the nation’s tech employment is in rural areas. By 2030, we want rural America to have 13% of the nation’s digital economy jobs, distributed to match the gender and race demographics of each region. We will achieve this through a comprehensive range of expertise, programs, and partnerships that ensure all Americans, regardless of geography, are able to participate in our 21st-century digital economy.

Digital economic development strategy The Rural Innovation Initiative

Through our Rural Innovation Initiative, our team of in-house community managers and data experts works with cohorts of rural communities to create place-based digital economic strategies. This intensive technical assistance program has helped our communities raise more than $17 million in federal funding and matching dollars. Many of these communities go on to join our Rural Innovation Network after completing the Initiative. Read more.

A national network of rural leaders The Rural Innovation Network

Our Rural Innovation Network is a growing community of small-town economic development leaders from across the country who are committed to building thriving digital economies in their hometowns. We connect our members with other rural leaders and advocates working on similar development initiatives, while partnering closely with them to develop strategies, assess opportunities, and execute on new ideas. Read more.

Expanding access to jobs Digital workforce development

We collaborate with our Rural Innovation Network community members to create new programs and initiatives to serve their local workforce. We partner with job seekers that could benefit from digital job training programs, local employers of tech talent, rural post-secondary education and training providers, national digital skilling partners, and remote tech employers to design and develop new initiatives that support tech employment in rural areas. Read more.