4-H teens drive digital inclusion in underfunded communities by teaching digital employability skills to over 50,000 adults

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With support from Verizon, Microsoft, Land O’Lakes, Inc. and Tractor Supply Company, 4-H will enable teens to help bridge the opportunity gap caused by the growing digital divide.

CHEVY CHASE, Md., May 17, 2021 / PRNewswire / – National 4-H Council Announces Major Expansion of its 4-H Tech Changemakers Program supported by Verizon, Microsoft, Land o’lakes, Inc. and Tractor Supply Company. Founded in 2017 with support from Microsoft, 4-H Tech Changemakers trains and equips teens to teach adults digital employability skills, including online job search, social media marketing, use of software, etc. the $ 8.5M investment by the coalition of partners, which includes $ 7.5M from Verizon, will enable 4-H teens to bring life-saving digital skills to more than 50,000 adults in 164 communities, with a focus on rural communities and communities of color.

Inequitable access to the internet and digital skills contributes to a growing lack of opportunities in areas such as education, employment, health, social development and entrepreneurship. the FCC Ratings that more than 21 million people do not have high-speed internet access, with other recent reports indicating that the problem may be much more widespread. This lack of access has a substantial negative economic impact on affected communities – which are disproportionately rural and those of color – including reduced job readiness and fewer employment opportunities. A recent study estimates that if the digital racial divide is not bridged, 76% of blacks and 62% of Hispanics could “be excluded or under-prepared for 86% of jobs in the United States by 2045”.

The 4-H Tech Changemakers program aims to fill this gap in opportunity by making digital skills accessible to those who need them most. “This program allows young people to identify which skills are most needed and by whom in their community, then go out and teach them,” explained Jennifer sirangelo, President and CEO of the National 4-H Council. “In this model, teens leverage their digital skills to give back to their communities while developing essential leadership and organizational skills.”

4-H, as the organization for the positive development of young people (PYD) of the cooperative extension system of the country, has the unique capacity to reach young people in every state, territory, county and parish across the country. The 4-H Tech Changemakers program will be implemented by 23 Land-Grant Universities (LGU), of which 11 are historically Black Land Grant Colleges and Universities (HBCU). This localized approach – which places trusted university professors and cooperative extension professionals at the center of implementation – will ensure maximum impact in communities that need it most.

“At Verizon, we see digital inclusion as a necessary cornerstone to create greater societal equity.” mentionned Rose Stuckey Kirk, director of corporate social responsibility for Verizon. “That’s why Verizon invested in 4-H Tech Changemakers. This program is innovative in the way it equips 4-H, who are both digital natives and trusted voices in their communities, not only to teach digital skills, but also to develop the vision of this to what a more inclusive future looks like. ”

Through 4-H Tech Changemakers, teens gain degrees through formal training on how to teach digital skills to adults. They also receive technology to support their projects, help from 4-H professionals and coalition partners, and training on how to effectively engage their communities. To date, this powerful youth-focused program has provided more than 10,000 adults with digital skills training in collaboration with Microsoft, the program’s founding partner.

“Access to broadband is essential in helping young people and adults develop digital skills for today’s jobs,” said Kate Behncken, vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies. “We helped launch 4-H Tech Changemakers to align connectivity with digital skills training and we’re excited to see other companies recognize the importance of encouraging students to be digital advocates in their communities.

Rural Americans are 10 times more likely not to have high speed internet access than their suburban or urban counterparts. Research indicates that roughly 60 percent of farmers in the United States do not have enough connectivity to run their business, while 25 percent of farms have no Internet access. This means that many farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers are being left behind.

Land o’lakes is pleased to support the 4-H Tech Changemakers program, to empower individuals to take advantage of the tools necessary to compete and prosper in today’s economy, through adequate broadband access, ” said Tina May, vice-president of rural services at Land o’lakes, Inc. “Through this collaboration and our work on the American Connection Project, we see the potential for real change and more prosperous individuals, families and communities.”

Tractor Supply Company, a longtime supporter of 4-H, has expanded its partnership to include 4-H Tech Changemakers.

“With nearly 2,000 tractor supply stores across the country, our business is supporting rural Americans. We recognize the importance of digital connectivity and skills and believe that the inclusive and multigenerational connection of the program will deliver community benefits that go beyond digital. We are delighted to support the 4-H Tech Changemakers program, ”said Hal lawton, President and CEO of Tractor Supply Company.

In 2021, the program will engage young people through cooperative extension in the following local communities: Alcorn State, Arizona State, State of arkansas, Auburn University, Alabama A&M, Florida A&M, State of georgia, Indiana State, State of Kentucky, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, North Carolina A&T, Prairie View A&M, University of the South and A&M College, Texas A&M, State of Tennessee, Tuskegee University, State of virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington state, University of West Virginia, West Virginia State, and University of Wisconsin.

To learn more about 4-H Tech Changemakers, please visit 4-H MEDIA CENTER.

ABOUT 4-H

4 – H, the country’s largest youth development organization, trains confident youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for the careers of tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly 6 million young people across the United States with experiences that develop essential life skills. 4 – H is the youth development program of our nation’s and USDA’s cooperative extension system, and serves all counties and parishes in the United States through a network of 110 public universities and over 3,000 local offices extension. The research-supported 4-H experiment grows youth who are four times more likely to contribute to their community; twice as likely to make healthier choices; twice as likely to be civically active; and twice as likely to participate in STEM programs.

Learn more about 4 – H at www.4-h.org, find us on Facebook at WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/4-H, and follow us on Twitter at WWW.TWITTER.COM/4H.

About Verizon

Verizon Communications Inc. was established on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology, communications, information and entertainment products and services. Based at New York City and with a worldwide presence, Verizon has generated revenue of $ 128.3 billion in 2020. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions over its award-winning networks and platforms, meeting customer demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control.

About Land o’lakes, Inc.

Land o’lakes, Inc., one of America’s premier food and agri-food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with state-of-the-art operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2020 annual sales of $ 14 billion, Land o’lakes is one of the largest cooperatives in the country, ranking 232 on the Fortune 500. Building on a heritage of over 99 years of operation, Land o’lakes Today operates some of the most respected brands and companies in agriculture and food production, including Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, WinField United and Truterra, LLC. The company operates in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land o’lakes, Inc. head office is located at Arden Hills, Minn.

About Tractor Supply Company

Tractor Supply Company, the largest rural lifestyle retailer in United States, has been passionate about its unique niche, targeting the needs of recreational farmers, ranchers and anyone who enjoys living the rural lifestyle, for over 80 years. Tractor Supply offers a wide range of products needed to care for the home, the land, pets and animals, with an emphasis on product localization, exclusive brands and legendary customer service for style. of Life Out Here. With more than 42,000 team members, the company’s physical assets, combined with its digital capabilities, provide customers with the convenience of buying the products they need anytime, anywhere and however they want. ‘they choose at the daily low prices they deserve. AT March 27, 2021, the company operated 1,944 Tractor Supply stores in 49 states and an e-commerce website at www.TractorSupply.com.

Tractor Supply Company also owns and operates Petsense, a specialty small-box pet supplies retailer that focuses on meeting the needs of pet owners, primarily in small to medium-sized communities, and offers a variety of products and of services for pets. AT March 27, 2021, the company operated 177 Petsense stores in 23 states. For more information on Petsense, visit www.Petsense.com.

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