Digital Works Celebrates a Year of Creating Jobs and Transforming Lives

By Zach Gerhardt, Public Relations Intern

Digital Works was launched officially in June of 2013. Since the opening of its first facility in Zanesville, Digital Works has expanded to ten facilities across the state of Ohio. As a result, more than 160 Ohioans have been connected to jobs, and the program continues to succeed.

The Digital Works Program, an initiative of Connect Ohio, has been able to connect people from a broad range of groups, including unemployed or handicapped individuals, veterans, and others in rural areas of Ohio to twenty-first century jobs.  Many people facing the hardships of unemployment or under-employment are attracted to the Digital Works program because it provides the necessary training to connect people to customer service positions. Once successfully completing the training, participants are allowed to work from home, giving graduates the freedom to set their own work hours.

Based on its retention methods, Digital Works has had great success thus far that few other opportunities possess. The first step in keeping the participants is recruiting people for the program who are qualified to work. Digital Works seeks out high-quality business prospects for the program to ensure that the best candidates are being trained.

“I was totally drawn right to it. It was everything I was interested in: customer service, talking on the phone, helping people, and being on a computer,” said Therese Hall, Digital Works participant. “The biggest draw was the flexible schedule… This was the first opportunity that really clicked with my life.”

Another component that makes Digital Works participants successful is the environment that the program has created. A facilitator leads the group and helps guide the participants, providing technical support along with any other assistance that is needed.

The students are around a group of peers going through similar struggles, and the group of participants grows together and can rely on each other. This helps individuals get the constant help needed not only from the facilitator, but also by receiving support from others going through the struggle of unemployment.

The final key to success is the personal development of the individuals. Digital Works initially trains participants by supplying them with computer skills needed for the level-one customer service jobs of today. The program also allows for further education and development of the participants in its advancement opportunities. Once they have completed their level one training, they can do more training to develop their skills in web and content design as well as other technical interests they might have.

After one year, dozens of people have been transformed and bettered because of the Digital Works program. With the options and opportunities that this program creates, people are able to work and provide for themselves and their families. They are given a second chance to work when sometimes finding employment seemed impossible.

“I really have begun to enjoy it, and it is something I see myself doing as a career. I look forward to being able to stop renting an apartment and being able to afford my first home,” said Tom Clark, Digital Works participant.

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