At Windstream, we are deeply committed to partnering with communities around the country to strengthen economies by broadening access to education and careers. The mission is a natural one for us, as the core facilitator of this type of access – technology – is at the heart of what we do.
In an effort to dig deeper into the question of connectivity and its power to benefit communities that may find themselves far from coastal urban centers, we partnered with research firm Seek to explore the topics that impact education and economic development. We’ll be diving into them with a series of content over the next few months, kicking off with the issue of “brain drain” now, as the school year kicks into high gear.
In a number of communities across the United States, populations are aging and fewer talented young people are sticking around – or moving in to fill the gap. They have departed in search of better opportunities, leading to the problem known as “brain drain”.
For those who stay behind, career choices are limited, particularly in communities that have been built on slowing industries. In those cases, the skills residents possess may not transferable, and higher education – which could potentially step in and provide the skills they need to enable a career shift – is prohibitively costly.
How can we ensure that job opportunities are plentiful and attractive enough to retain talent and help the community develop and thrive?
The answer is simple: technology.
In the communities Windstream serves, an ever expanding and improving technological infrastructure – with Kinetic internet, gig and TV leading the way at present – knowledge has never been easier to spread, which levels the playing field when it comes to educational opportunities. Our networks enable partners like Awesome Inc. in Lexington, Kentucky to create and grow high tech startups by hosting community events, leading technology education courses and offering a shared workspace environment. With so much in the economy driven by technology, the labor force needs to grow with it, but the current numbers on tech talent won’t fill demand, according to tech training nonprofit LaunchCode. By 2020, as many as 1 million programming jobs will be unfilled, according to U.S. Department of Labor predictions.
Coding schools and other remotely accessible programs step in to fill this void, providing both young people and an older, in some cases less tech-savvy generation with the opportunity to grow their skills and become more marketable in the eyes of employers. Alongside the rise of teleworking, employment options expand beyond traditional brick-and-mortars, enabling individuals in a variety of locations to earn a livable wage.
Windstream is committed to this vision of technology as a way to reimagine the world of work in small towns, providing an infrastructure that enables communities to find fresh ways to keep their best and brightest citizens. A landscape in which residents can carve out their own profitable career with nothing but a computer and a strong internet connection proffers a wealth of opportunities, strengthening towns and communities along the way.
To learn more about connectivity options for you and your community, visit the Windstream website at www.windstream.com.