GALLIPOLIS — U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D) took part in a job training roundtable discussion with Digital Works participants and University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College representatives Friday morning to discuss the future of Gallia jobs.
“We’ve got to figure out in this state, in this country, as metropolitan areas grow and do pretty well, how communities like (Gallia County), that just don’t have the same job opportunities, can invest in job training and grow,” said Brown. “I don’t write off fracking and I don’t write off coal and we’ve got to figure out how to better ourselves.”
Digital Works, a technology skills training program, has set up shop on Third Avenue in Gallipolis and its representatives discussed with Brown the opportunities of training employees in a digital environment. Those said employees would learn programs in telecommuting fields like information technology support, code writing and more. Individuals in rural areas could then become employed through online efforts and not need to necessarily leave the region so long as they had online access.
Cody Haner, a Digital Works participant, performs information technology technical support for the Apple company known for its Mac computers and iPhone products. Haner explained during the meeting how his ability to train and perform work remotely over an internet connection had given he and his family a new outlook on life when they had previously suffered challenges.
Alicia Hornsby, a URG graduate, told the senator that training online had been a boon to her life because of its flexibility. Hornsby said online training had provided her a better opportunity to both attend class and work.
Brown continued asking questions of those at the table about the nature of online work. Vice President of Digital Works Stu Johnson said that roughly one out of six jobs posted online in the United States were actual opportunities and not scams. Despite this, he said there was a large opportunity for individuals trained in telecommuting fields to fill needed gaps, if able to find the right programs.
Brown noted a need for providing better internet infrastructure access to areas in Appalachian Ohio and how that might aid in providing better opportunities for programs like Digital Works in providing jobs for southeastern Ohio residents.
Brown would go on to thank meeting participants for coming.
“Local roundtables are an opportunity to learn about the needs of each of Ohio’s counties by talking to local leaders and community members,” said Brown. “We had a productive discussion today in Gallia County about how to spur investment, grow the local economy and create jobs.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.