FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — The digital training and career mentoring program Digital Works (DW) Tuesday marked a major milestone—1,000 job placements. The 1,000th job placement was filled by an Army veteran.
Connected Nation (CN), the national nonprofit that founded DW, is hosting a virtual celebration on Thursday, Aug. 6, to celebrate the milestone, those who made it possible, and the graduates of the program. CN will also announce future plans for DW, including how communities can bring it to their area.
“The significance of this milestone cannot be overstated. That number represents young adults, military spouses and veterans, people with physical disabilities, senior citizens, individuals living in rural areas with few job opportunities, and so many others who just needed an opportunity to change their lives in positive ways,” said Tom Ferree, chairman & CEO, CN. “Digital Works focuses on remote work opportunities which can be leveraged by people with all kinds of backgrounds who are living anywhere in the country. It’s one reason we have had a high rate of success helping military spouses—these jobs can move with them.”
Military spouses have some of the highest unemployment rates in the country simply because they must move with their spouse when he or she is deployed. Thanks to funding from the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund, DW launched classes in the Fort Campbell area in February aimed at helping military spouses and veterans.
“Every time someone gets a job you can feel the excitement. We all celebrate together,” said Tammy Spring, operations manager, DW. “We’ve always limited our class size in an effort to establish a community. Smaller classes provide better opportunities for bonds to be formed and relationships to be built. I’m still in contact with graduates from our very first classes and love following their careers. In addition, many of our alumni assist with mentoring new graduates.”
In response to the pandemic, the Fort Campbell location expanded beyond its brick-and-mortar classes in March, offering virtual classes to military spouses, veterans, and spouses of veterans across Kentucky.
“The shutdowns that began to happen due to the pandemic have only emphasized the need for and importance of programs such as Digital Works,” said Chris Pedersen, VP of planning and development, CN. “Many employees were suddenly having to work from home, and businesses had this unexpected need for people who were trained in online work skills. As a result, we’ve seen the opportunities for telework grow at a staggering rate, and these new positions are likely here to stay. That means there are new opportunities for those who can provide the skill sets needed.”