Past and current Digital Works (DW) students gathered in one room at the Reeb Center in Columbus, Ohio, for a mentoring session and videoconference with the Connected Nation Board of Directors (Board) during their Spring Board Meeting. Prior to the board meeting, previous graduates shared their job experiences with current students and fostered a mentoring relationship with the group. During the videoconference with the Board, DW graduates were able to share their success stories.
As soon as the participants arrived, a group discussion began; it seemed as if they were already family. Graduates loved explaining the flexibility of at-home job schedules and the financial stability Digital Works has brought into their lives. There were many opportunities for networking and making connections with people already working. “This job has let me do more than I could have working at a brick and mortar job. I could be my husband’s support, for a change, while he was in the hospital,” graduate Faye Saldana assured.
One of the Board members asked Columbus facilitator, Tammy Spring, to explain the family dynamic DW strives to create for the students.
“We frequently have get-togethers at the Digital Works facilities. These events are typically a potluck meal and a way to provide networking experiences for those who have finished the program. It’s about putting people together so they know you’re there for support,” Tammy explained.
Graduate Penny Rowland added her input of the mentorship within Digital Works.
“It’s about guiding current class members toward a job that fits what they want. While providing general mentorship to participants, we also see them as individuals and do our best to match them with a company that can meet their particular schedule and pay needs.”
The Board enjoyed hearing from retiree, Larry Steward about how he was able to work part-time a few years after he had retired.
“Digital Works is a great idea and a great concept. I can work part-time after retirement and still gain some sort of income for my wife and me. Even at 72 years old I was able to find a job,” Larry said.
Current Digital Works students left with high hopes of their future success with great tips and advice from the graduates. The Board was delighted to hear the work being done to create jobs for people, as well as areas that need work for Digital Works to further succeed.
“Digital Works can only offer so much. Some people don’t have equipment at home to do the work and some companies don’t provide you with the necessary equipment. If you want to work from home you’ve got to have the right equipment and they don’t have the money for equipment right off,” Sherri Shaw said.
The day celebrated the success of DW graduates and students but also brought attention to the need for broadband access and secure Internet. We can’t wait to see the graduates at the next mentoring session and hear about their success!
About the Author: Rachel O’Morrow is a junior studying strategic communication at Ohio University in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Rachel’s areas of interests are public relations, digital marketing, as well as creating branded content. She writes for several Ohio University campus publications and is a Creative Head for the student-led public relations and advertising firm to help businesses reach their audience.