Collaboration results in a new innovative company creating job opportunities for rural communities

Digital Works Center opens first call center staff training location in Michigan.

With employment shortage and talent retention being talked about throughout the state as a crisis we all face; one local community is taking steps forward to bring job opportunities to their area. 

The city of Cheboygan is leading the way as the first location in Michigan to open a Digital Works Center

With more than a dozen locations in four states and proven success with helping more than 500 people find jobs since opening in 2013, Digital Works is a success model that can be carried out in other communities throughout the region struggling with high unemployment rates. 

Digital Works, a program of Connected Nation, connects people to leading edge customer support IT jobs for global corporations by providing training, mentorship and job placement assistance, as well as the opportunity for advanced careers. 

The Cheboygan program is based out of the North Central Michigan College Cheboygan campus and requires five weeks of training before job placement opportunities are presented. Once completed, graduates benefit from work at home opportunities available through Digital Works 35 employment partners like Bank of America, State Farm Insurance, and Google or they can choose to work at the Digital Works facility if they prefer a more traditional office environment. 

“There’s no other workforce training program that offers what we do—it’s really groundbreaking,” said Stu Johnson, Vice President of Digital Works. “We are able to offer employer-customized training to high-quality candidates, job-placement assistance, on-going mentorship, and even advanced training and career development. There is an excessive demand for these types of jobs, and Digital Works is connecting those employers with eager and trained job seekers.” 

The first Michigan Digital Works office was made possible by a collaborative effort by many organizations. Lead by the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the team effort also included AirNorth Communications, Cheboygan Community Foundation, Cheboygan Economic Development Group, City of Cheboygan, Connect Michigan, Connect Nation, Michigan Works!, and the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance

To learn more about Digital Works and how it may work for your community, contact the NLEA at 231-582-6482 or visit their website. 

Michigan State University Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.” 

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