cTechnology's next phase in its rural west Tennessee initiative is to launch its P-16 Technology Workforce Pipeline that will ultimately bring new, high-paying, high-skilled jobs to rural communities when all stages are completed. The outcomes will measurably affect the workforce readiness of our K-16 graduates, create new job opportunities without "bricks and mortar", generate new entrepreneurial opportunities, and drive the adoption of broadband services across the region.

We have identified a track to properly train and mentor K-16 young people directly into online technology employment in their local communities. These online jobs are 21st century skills work and the starting salaries are above the mean salaries for a rural county. We have already identified companies nationally and internationally that are interested in mentoring and hiring our qualified and interested young people remotely via the Internet. Once established, these local tech communities will also become an ideal catalyst for rural entrepreneurialism.

We are partnered with the three west Tennessee federal development districts in our second phase and we were awarded a $225,000 pilot grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in late August 2009 to begin our research and file for an NTIA Broadband Adoption Grant to further stage the project.

The TN ECD grant is being administered by our partners at the Southwest Tennessee Development District in Jackson, TN and encompasses four pilot sites in Lauderdale County, Hardeman County, Henderson County (Lexington), and Obion County. This current phase will begin to explore the methods & foster the partnerships required to establish a P-16 Technology Workforce Pipeline, linking local economic development outcomes and workforce requirements directly into the rural educational processes. This process will directly link the P-16 community to becoming a relevant force in driving new rural economic opportunity.

We are very excited about this concept because it is focused on specific 21st Century job skill development and then direct job placement in 21st century online technology jobs. We believe that this program will create an entirely new sector of economic development in rural communities. The program has far-reaching benefits such as:

- Reduction in the under-25 brain drain from rural communities (est. 90+% of college grads never return to their rural communities).

- New online job creation without waiting for Supersite tenants or new manufacturing to arrive.

- Increased workforce readiness by inculcating technology skills in K-12.

- The creation of online social and tech interest groups across all rural communities through the deployment of rural Co-Working Centers. These types of interest groups are the primer for all types of new tech company formation and entrepreneurial activities. We envision that new tech companies formed in rural areas will stay rural.

We are partnered with the prestigious Belmont University Massey Center for Entrepreneurialism in this initiative as well as the support of multiple ECD development districts and agencies. A detailed discussion of the online job creation and rural entrepreneurial opportunity can be downloaded below.


Click these links to download the attached PDF (get Adobe Reader free)

Digital Factory Concept Paper
Overview of cTechnology
Graphic: Trends in Widening Digital Disablement
Rural Broadband White Paper - Perspectives From the Field