The Daily Yonder recently ran an interesting interview with Karen Kocher from Microsoft, about how Microsoft would like to create intentional ways for technology to support rural economic and workforce development. It’s an interesting article- the end caught my attention because it mirrors a theme we saw emerge from our case study of five Minnesota communities doing well with broadband – they all had leadership and a vision for the future
First and foremost it’s really incumbent upon the community to have the leadership and the vision and the aspiration for itself. What are they hoping to be as the future unfolds and where do they see opportunity not only for the community at large but for individuals? Because we will have a solution that can help people develop the skill to ultimately be employable in some of these wonderful 21st century jobs, but that’s going to be just a subset of something far broader, this context that has to exist, which is really up to the community to help create. We see [Microsoft] aligning with communities that have those types of aspirations and those types of visions and so I’d start there. What is it they envision and do they envision being a place where these types of jobs would exist and people would thrive in those types of jobs? If so, then the likelihood is there’d be an opportunity for partnering and some real potential there.