Digital Works, a job-placement and retraining program through Connected Nation, has now placed more than 500 new workers at tech jobs throughout Ohio, Texas, and Kentucky. Residents in Cheboygan, Michigan will be included in the next 500.
Looking over Lake Huron at the northernmost tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Cheboygan is a small, rural town home to just under 5,000 people. Hours from any major city, the distance makes commuting impossible and few businesses in the area provide promising careers. Many residents have had to relocate to find work. Digital Works is helping residents stay in this beautiful community and live and work in a place they love.
“There are many people that need good-paying jobs in rural communities,” said Christi Cross, Digital Works Facilitator in Cheboygan. “It’s important to retrain so we have access to those jobs. This is a quick training program. You can get your foot in the door.”
Through a 4-6 week program comprising about 144 hours of training, students learn a number of hard and soft skills that will allow them to start careers in tech fields. This includes digital literacy training and advanced IT training; business networking, writing resumes, polishing applications, and interviewing; and business management. Graduates of the program go on to work in technical assistance, customer support, marketing research, software development, web development, and other fields. Digital Works not only provides training but also pairs graduates with employer partners who are looking for applicants with these skills.
“It’s really important for rural communities,” said Cross. “Most big companies are not going to relocate to Cheboygan, but we can give them the supply of workers that they need.”
Many of these jobs can be conducted at home through teleworking. A fast and reliable broadband connection, a computer, sometimes a headset, and the power to put this technology to work are all that graduates need to get started. Digital Works also teaches students how to run a business from their home, including freelancing tax status, time management, equipment management, and more.
“I fell in love with the program immediately,” said Bud Darnell, President of Cheboygan Communities Foundation. The Foundation is one of many organizations helping to coordinate the Digital Works facility in Cheboygan. “It’s a perfect fit for Cheboygan. We don’t have options for a lot of jobs here. Here are some jobs that have more status to them; they pay better, they have a future connected to them, and many of them have benefits attached to them.”
Digital Works in Michigan is made possible through extensive partnerships with local and national organizations, including AirNorth Communications, Cheboygan Communities Foundation, Cheboygan Economic Development Group, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium, North Central Michigan College, Northeast Michigan Council of Governments (NEMCOG), Northern Lakes Economic Alliance and others. Thanks to this collaborative effort, Cheboygan residents have started retraining for new jobs and are looking forward to new careers.
Learn more about job-training and placement activities through Connected Nation and Digital Works by visiting www.digitalworksjobs.com.
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