Connected Nation Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council

Washington, DC (October 20, 2020) – Connected Nation won a Gold Rank for its Digital Works Website, a project in the category of Special Purpose Website of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).  The honor was presented last week at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders.

Excellence Awards

“Nothing is more central to economic development than the existence of gainful employment— a reality made infinitely more probable when multiple stakeholders come together to this end. For this reason, partnerships have always been at the core of the Digital Works program. We work with more than 70 companies nationwide to provide both training and job placement assistance for telework positions,”said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation.  “Remote work has so many positive ramifications—from providing jobs to those living in rural areas to helping military spouses find positions that can move with them to improving the tax base for struggling communities. Our challenge was finding a way to make accessing this program even easier for more people and communities—which is why we worked to streamline our website and make it more user-friendly while, at the same time, shifting to an all virtual approach during the pandemic.”

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards feature 35 award categories that honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the very best of economic development and exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and leadership that our profession strives for each and every day”, said 2020 IEDC Board Chair and One Columbus CEO Kenny McDonald. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing campaigns, projects and partnerships have measurably improved regional quality of life.”

Digital Works (DW) launched the new, more user-friendly website in January 2020 to better help people and communities reach their digital training and job placement goals. The program falls in line Connected Nation’s mission to find innovative solutions to expand the access, adoption, and use of high-speed internet and its related technologies to everyone.

“The program has been successfully completed by senior citizens, military spouses and veterans, young adults, the physically challenged, single parents, and many others,” said Chris Pedersen, VP of Planning and Development, Connected Nation. “Digital Works is not a one-size-fits-all program. It was developed to be leveraged by both urban and rural settings. It can assist communities, nonprofits, government agencies, and other advocacy groups address workforce development needs, and it has been used to jump-start job-depressed areas. Over the life of this program, we have learned providing telework and remote job training is often the missing piece of economic and community development in many communities.”

The Digital Works site was revamped with the help of partner, Hatfield Media. The marketing agency provided website design expertise, support, and guidance throughout the development of the improved website.

“We believe in the mission to deliver high speed internet accessibility to everyone in the United States. Geographical isolation should not prevent anyone from accessing the internet,” said Drake Hatfield, President & CEO, Hatfield Media. “Connected Nation’s mission is even more critical in these times of isolation. On behalf of everyone at Hatfield Media, it continues to be a pleasure to work with everyone at Connected Nation.”

To learn more about the Digital Works program head to

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at


About Connected Nation and Digital Works: Digital Works was developed by national nonprofit, Connected Nation, to connect people to leading-edge customer support and IT jobs for global corporations by providing training, mentorship, and job placement assistance, as well as the opportunity for advanced careers.

Connected Nation’s mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand the access, adoption, and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies to all people. We believe that everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.orgor follow Connected Nation on Facebookand Twitter.


Subscribe to our Newsletter