The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that approximately 40% of the American workforce will be freelancers, independent contractors, and ‘solopreneurs’ by the year 2020. More and more workers are moving away from traditional brick-and-mortar jobs and turning their skills into telework, or jobs that they can do from home. Work re-training and placement programs like Connected Nation’s Digital Works are bringing these opportunities to areas traditionally overlooked by employers.
Telework includes a broad spectrum of talents and positions. Many employees even now are taking advantage of options to telecommute instead of staying at the office, sending documents, preparing reports, and even interfacing with colleagues online. This hybrid telecommuting model is expected to rise alongside work-at-home ‘solopreneurs.’ These workers, many in software programming, website development, and tech assistance, work for themselves at home as contractors, freelancers, or remote employees.
For office teleworkers and at-home freelancers, access to broadband is a must. For those that are currently invested in this work and those that are projected to become invested, homes without reliable, affordable broadband are not options. Similarly, telework opportunities are closed to those living in areas without access to broadband, such as some rural or low-income areas.
The work training program Digital Works and Connected Nation work together to expand broadband in underserved areas and then deliver training and job-placement services for leading edge jobs in technology fields. Through Digital Works programs active in Ohio, Kentucky, Texas and now Michigan, more than 500 rural residents have secured jobs in technology fields, many of them teleworking.
“There’s no other workforce training program that offers what we do—it’s really groundbreaking,” said Stu Johnson, Vice President of Digital Works, in a press release announcing the new facility in Cheboygan, Michigan. “We are able to offer employer-customized training to high-quality candidates, job-placement assistance, on-going mentorship, and even advanced training and career development. There is an excessive demand for these types of jobs, and Digital Works is connecting those employers with eager and trained job seekers.”
Digital Works’ employer partners benefit from well-trained and available employees that are ready to work right away. Cities get an income injection by keeping workers and their families in the area. Residents who were limited to local jobs at restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, and other nearby establishments now have a host of options to choose from and careers they can develop.
Matching expanding broadband capabilities with job re-training is a winning proposition for every party involved. As telework options continue to grow, employees will have the power to live and work where they want to, instead of where jobs are available.
Learn more about new jobs, job opportunities, and advancements in broadband that are changing communities everywhere at www.connectmycommunity.org.
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