Connect Ohio launches innovative ‘Digital Works’ – a sustainable job creation program bringing technology-based jobs to local communities
LOGAN – Tuesday, Connect Ohio opened its newest Digital Works location in Logan. Digital Works is a technology skills training program aimed at providing a link between twenty-first century workforce opportunities and community revitalization. The program provides mentoring and training to workers seeking employment and places them in quality teleworking jobs. The grand opening event for the second Digital Works center in Ohio was held in Logan at 80 E. Main Street, with remarks from dignitaries and program partners Hocking County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) and Frontier Communications.
“I’ve been working in economic development for 30 years, assisting communities recruit businesses and creating job opportunities, but I have felt something missing, that there was a void,” said Logan Mayor Martin Irvine. “That there were employable people out there and a piece of the economic development puzzle was missing, connecting people with the job market. I think that Digital Works could be that final piece to the puzzle.”
The program is providing an avenue for vacant buildings to become job incubators and retain workers in the area. The Digital Works pilot location opened in Zanesville on May 13, with nearly half of the first training group securing employment before the grand opening was held June 21. The Zanesville location has secured employment for more than 75% of participants currently enrolled in the Digital Works training program. Additional centers are planned to open in southeastern Ohio this summer with long term plans for rolling out the program statewide.
“The Digital Works pilot location in Zanesville has seen remarkable success and we are thrilled to be opening our second location in Logan to connect even more people to jobs,” said Stu Johnson, executive director of Connect Ohio. “Proving the success through our job numbers is a strong indicator for the program; however, the greatest impact that Digital Works is having is on the participants’ lives after helping them to secure employment. The Digital Works Logan site would not have been possible without the support of our public-private partnerships with Hocking County CIC and Frontier Communications.”
Using a digital learning model, the Digital Works program trains, places, and mentors high-quality business process candidates and locates co-working centers in rural America settings where job demand is high, few employers exist, and the cost of living is the lowest. At the end of training the workers are guaranteed placement in a position that matches their skills and interest. Digital works is currently taking applicants for the program and they can register at www.digitalworksjobs.org.
“Technology is important to our world, it’s important for our children, it’s important for how we develop jobs,” said Jason Wilson, director of Ohio Governor’s Office of Appalachia. “Appalachian Ohio has a quality workforce, but a large component missing is the job opportunities. Digital Works is providing the opportunity to connect the Appalachian region to twenty-first century jobs.”
The funding for the Digital Works pilot program is provided in part by the U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). BTOP provided original funding for the ECO program, which has successfully trained more than 40,000 Ohio adults at over 250 locations statewide on the basics of computer use and digital literacy.
“The partnership between Connect Ohio and the Hocking County CIC to create job opportunities in downtown Logan will have a tremendous economic impact on our community,” said Bill Rinehart, executive director of Hocking County CIC. “With the number of jobs created, more residents of the region will have more spendable dollars that will impact downtown Logan and the entire region. I am very confident that Digital Works will employ a couple hundred employees.”
Photo caption: Connect Ohio staff, Connected Nation staff, Ohio Governor’s Office of Appalachia, state and local dignitaries, officials from Hocking County CIC and Frontier Communications, and local residents held a ribbon cutting event for the grand opening of Digital Works in Logan Tuesday, August 13.
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About Connect Ohio: Connect Ohio, a division of Connected Nation, is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed Internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Ohioans. Connect Ohio effectively raises the awareness of the value of broadband and works to improve technology access, adoption, and use through its programs. Connect Ohio is a nonprofit, technology-neutral public-private partnership. For more information about what Connect Ohio is doing to accelerate technology in Ohio’s communities, visit http://www.connectohio.org. Follow Connect Ohio on Facebook and Twitter.