Graduate Spotlight: Penny Rowland and Her Concerns for Small, Rural Towns

From living in a small, rural town in Gallipolis, Ohio, Penny Rowland has experienced a complete life enhancement since her Digital Works training. Rowland graduated from Digital Works three years ago and has worked from home since March 2014 with LiveOps and Amtrust.

“Digital Works has opened a new world for me. Before Digital Works I didn’t really know anybody that worked from home or what opportunities there were. Now working at home I’ve found a whole world that I didn’t even know existed,” Rowland said.

Penny Rowland

Penny Rowland

Gallipolis has limited well-paying job opportunities, but thanks to Digital Works, Rowland doesn’t have to drive an hour or more just to get to work.

“Working from home saves me the commuting time and has completely changed the way that I look at working,” Rowland said.

“Digital Works has the ability to change entire communities because it opens the door for people in a small town to find real work with a schedule that works for them as well as potentially better pay.”

Rowland remains concerned for her town, other small towns, and other counties like Gallia County. Towns like these don’t always have the technological equipment available or Internet access to provide the town with better jobs.

“Columbus has a lot of job opportunities whereas our town is very small and has lost a lot of its manufacturing jobs. We’re having a huge problem with the population decreasing; when people graduate from school they have to move out of town to get decent jobs, so small towns are dying,” Rowland said.

Much of Gallia County and other parts of southern Ohio don’t have high-speed Internet or secure Internet, which leads to a shrinking population and no prospect for economic growth. “There are many people who don’t have high-speed Internet at home unless it’s satellite. For security reasons this can be a major issue, because many employers won’t hire you unless you have secure high-speed Internet access,” Rowland said.

She believes that to solve the lack of secure Internet access and poor job opportunity would require legislators to actually understand what’s going on in small towns. Until then, Rowland remains grateful for her at-home job, thanks to Digital Works and their mentoring efforts.

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.