Developing a digital workforce: An integrated approach

COVID-19 has challenged assumptions about where digital economy jobs and tech talent can exist — tech giants have come to embrace distributed teams and an influx of people have left urban areas to work remotely in rural America.

Our Future Of Work efforts focus on partnering with rural community leaders, world-class digital skilling partners, local tech employers, remote tech employers, and local institutions of higher education. Through these partnerships, we provide rural Americans with greater access to digital jobs along with opportunities to gain the skills needed for participating in the growing digital economy.

In collaboration with our Rural Innovation Network partners, we identify and implement workforce development strategies, pilot digital skilling initiatives, and connect job seekers with digital employment opportunities in 18 communities across the country.

Digital job training

  • We work with national digital job training organizations to develop high-impact programs and initiatives for rural Americans living in communities served by our Rural Innovation Network. As part of this work, we ensure these opportunities are accessible to individuals historically excluded from technology careers. In 2020, we piloted the Future Is Digital challenge and saw more than 600 rural Americans enroll and gain new digital skills to prepare them for jobs in web development, digital marketing, and business analytics.

Job placement

  • We work closely with our Rural Innovation Network community partners as they help local job seekers find digital employment. Through seminars, career coaching, employer relations, and programming, we provide opportunities and mentorship that support rural Americans through the job search process. We work across the full spectrum of digital employment to localize outsourced tech jobs and leverage the power of remote work in rural areas.

Employer engagement

  • To meet the rising need of technology skills in today’s workplace, we partner with tech companies across the country. We serve their hiring needs by connecting them with a network of rural tech talent across our Rural Innovation Network, home to more than 1.2 million people. By designing training programs, and sharing best practices for hiring remotely in rural America, we support employers who are committed to expanding access to digital jobs

We are always looking for new partners to support this work. If you are interested in thinking through how you or your organization can get involved, please let us know.