According to National 4-H, more than 20 million people living in the U.S. lack broadband access, an essential service in today’s economy. Inequitable access to reliable Internet connectivity and a lack of digital skills are contributing to a growing opportunity gap in areas like education, employment, healthcare, social fulfillment and entrepreneurship, with rural communities and communities of color being most affected.
These teen leaders – 4-H Tech Changemakers – explore the impact of the digital divide in their communities, learn high value digital skills, and provide adults in underserved populations with the tools to find additional opportunities for employment through expanded access to digital skills training. Washington 4-H Tech Changemakers have impacted hundreds of adults and other learners in their efforts to support digital literacy, digital equity, tech adoption, and promoting tribal or rural broadband.
To become a 4-H Tech Changemaker, contact the Extension office for more information.
Our Ferry County youth are leading workforce development and digital skills initiatives in rural and tribal communities. According to the NATIONAL INITIATIVE FOR CYBERSECURITY CAREERS AND STUDIES, “Promoting and expanding cybersecurity education is essential to protecting the Nation’s critical infrastructure. In order for the United States to best protect our interests in the 21st century, a new workforce needs to be educated and the current workforce needs additional skills.”
With the rise of cyber threats like viruses and ransomware on the rise, according to Cornell University, our youth are a critical part of broadband and technology adoption in our tribal and rural communities. To learn more about ransomware and the impact to communities and businesses, our Tech Changemakers have worked with other youth across the State to create more awareness through outreach and gamification.