University of Idaho Extension is out with a new program that the school said will prepare Idahoans and communities to take advantage of the digital economy and the opportunities that will be available.


“As all of this effort to expand broadband across the state is happening, how do we make sure that our communities are ready to fully take advantage of that?" said Amber Smyer, manager of the new Digital Economy Program.  "Especially those that have maybe historically been left behind in the digital divide.”


Smyer noted that includes communities that just haven't had access to technology, or struggled with the affordability, as well as minority populations.  To help rural communities adapt to the digital economy, the state Legislature awarded roughly $1.3 million for the three-year DEP effort.  Smyer said the project will help rural Idahoans land jobs where they could be a freelancer, an entrepreneur, or something in between.


“We're offering courses to individuals to help them prepare to take advantage of that so if they would like to remote work or if they would like to start a business and do e-commerce then we'll offer some resources to small businesses to get started and take advantage of that as well.”


University of Idaho Extension is teaming up with Utah State Extension for implementation of the DEP program.  To learn more about the course, costs, or to enroll, visit the University of Idaho's Website.  Smyer added they plan to publicize the course more widely and expand class sizes in 2023.


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