Gov. Beshear, Second Lady Pence Join Us in Honoring Veteran Who Hit the Milestone
Oak Grove, Ky (August 6, 2020) – Digital Works (DW) staff, graduates, and supporters gathered today to mark a major milestone for the digital training and career mentoring program: 1,000 job placements.
“Our Digital Works program was established in 2013 when we began to notice the need for digital literacy training in both rural and urban communities,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation, during the celebration. “Since then, it has transformed into a workforce development program that is focused on telework training and job placement assistance. Let me be clear—this program addresses the need to provide employment opportunities in areas that have seen a loss in jobs. It has provided a viable solution for those looking for work—even during a pandemic. It has helped people from just about every walk of life, including single parents, young adults, senior citizens needing additional income, and our nation’s military spouses and veterans.”
Today’s celebration took place at the Digital Works location in Oak Gove, Ky., across from Fort Campbell, where classes for military spouses and veterans were launched in February 2020. Those classes went completely virtual in mid-March following coronavirus closures and were expanded to include any military spouse, veteran, or spouse of a veteran across Kentucky.
Gov. Andy Beshear shared this video in support of the Digital Works program, saying, “It’s clear that providing a path for individuals to qualify for and find legitimate online positions is a critical component of workforce development.”
Second Lady Karen Pence, whose platform includes helping and encouraging military spouses, offered this letter of commendation for the program, saying, “Thank you for your ongoing work to lift up so many lives, including our cherished military families and veterans. The vice president and I wish you the very best as you continue to bridge the digital divide and expand your programs into additional communities.”
“Scaling these types of programs is always challenging since training is done in small groups—remotely right now during the pandemic closures—and job placement is at the individual level,” said John Davies, Board Member, Connected Nation. “Hence, the 1,000th job placement is a brilliant achievement. Beyond the 1,000 lives impacted, this program can positively impact their families and dependents, which could total several thousand. In addition, by enlisting leaders as champions, starting with Kentucky Governor Beshear and also local community leaders, military base leaders, and others, the word can spread far wider and benefit so many more.”
Army veteran Courtney Anaeki filled the 1,000th job. She was looking for a remote position during COVID closures and landed her first job five days after graduating Digital Works. Anaeki decided to pursue a second position, and once secured, she officially filled Digital Works’ 1,000th job placement.
“Today, we’re celebrating 1,000 jobs created, but we’re confident that with the right partners and participants, we can match talent with opportunity to create another 1,000 or even 10,000 new jobs,” said Bernie Bogle, CFO, Connected Nation. “I’d like to invite others to join us in expanding the Digital Works program and expanding remote job opportunities to more people, particularly now, due to COVID-19, as people need viable remote job options more than ever.”
The first Digital Works class took place in Zanesville, Ohio, on May 9, 2013. Since then, graduates have received a total of 2,823 job offers—a little over one job offer a day from the beginning of the program. The program is successful because it leverages a network of more than 70 companies nationwide, and staff works with those employers to address the skillsets they’re looking for in new hires. Digital Works staff then applies that to the classroom setting and mentors graduates throughout their careers.
“I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know many of our graduates over the course of the last seven years,” said Tammy Spring, Operations Manager, Digital Works. “I became very familiar with their stories and got to know them personally. I will forever be grateful to them! They have inspired me with their resilience, courage, and determination. If you are interested in hearing more about our graduates and their stories, let me know. I’m always happy to brag about them!”
If you missed the event, you can find it on this webpage: https://digitalworksjobs.org/celebration-of-jobs/.You can also find updates on graduates, testimonials, videos, including one from Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, and background on how the program has evolved over the years.
Jessica Denson, Communications Director
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About Digital Works (DW): A program of Connected Nation, DW connects 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.org or follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.