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Groundbreaking partnership with US State Department to get New Zealand’s Northland remote work ready

Digital Works to lead digital training and job placement assistance project as part of international partnership between US and NZ

Connected Northland Project Team Meeting Cropped 1024x483
Connected Northland Project team meeting

Northland, New Zealand and Bowling Green, Kentucky (March 9, 2021) – The US State Department and the Far North District Council in New Zealand are funding “Connected Northland”—a new program focused on providing flexible digital training and job placement assistance to communities and individuals in the Northland Region of New Zealand.    

The effort will leverage Digital Works (DW) which is the digital workforce development program of national nonprofit Connected Nation (CN).  The project is the first time CN has worked in New Zealand and was developed following a two-way, 2018-19 US State Department Professional Fellows learning exchange offered to US digital enablement experts and Northland Digital Enablement Group members.

“It was such a privilege to participate in the international learning exchange with New Zealand in 2019 through the US State Department,” says Chris Pedersen, Executive Vice President of Development and Planning, CN. “We learned that there is a need across all countries and cultures to work together toward digital equity and better connectivity for all people. Since that time, we have continued to share ideas and collaborate. That led us to the launch of the Connected Northland initiative.  Connected Nation is excited to support this digital inclusion effort and to work together to improve lives through technology.”

DW is designed to ensure jobseekers are trained, mentored, and upskilled, while also being supported in job placements. It has achieved an 80% placement success rate and high participant retention, something the Far North District Council says it aims to replicate. 

The project is being delivered by the Northland Digital Enablement Group. Members include the Far North District Council, Northland Inc, Kaipara District Council, Whangarei District Council and Northland Regional Council.

“Connected Northland is a great collaboration. We are proud to be working with Connected Nation on this ground-breaking project because it is all about developing local talent,” said Jude Thompson, Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan portfolio manager at Northland Inc. and Chair of the Northland Digital Enablement Group. “This is about flexible digital training with a focus on job placement, so it is a great opportunity for Northlanders, particularly those in remote rural areas. Being involved with Connected Nation means our talent in Te Tai Tokerau get to learn at home from professionals overseas. It is a unique opportunity and Northland Inc is identifying potential employers to participate.”

Connected Northland wants to sign-up 20 businesses by the end of March. Employer requirements can be built into the training and, ideally, they will have positions that can be filled remotely.

Northland libraries are also supporting the project, with staff ready to assist learners and free public Wi-fi and computer access. Northlanders can sign up at the Digital Learning Hub

To learn more about Digital Works, email us at or visit

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Digital Works, a program of Connected Nation, 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: or follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.