The digital world is becoming more and more critical to our everyday lives, especially since the COVID pandemic, social distancing, events online, school online and constant virtual meetings. Websites are becoming more important, digital marketing is ever more present and how to use digital data is critical to making sure we market in the right places with the right tools. 

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) through the Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE) is announcing some exciting job training programs and programs that offer scholarships. CORI has teamed up with the company Udacity and is offering “The Future is Digital” challenge, which is an initiative focused on training those in rural communities in learning new skills to help them participate in the growing digital economy. 

This training challenge will occur in two parts. The first part is the applicant participating in Udacity’s Foundational Courses. These are self-paced courses with online peers and mentors for a total of 40 hours of training that needs to occur within a month’s time. The fundamental courses include digital marketing, business analytics and front-end Web development. By completing these courses and receiving a Udacity Nanodegree program certification, participants can then apply to go to the next, more detailed level of training. Again, scholarships may be available for this second level of training. 

Enrollment for the first phase begins Sept. 22 and goes until Oct. 5. This first phase of courses will need to be completed by Nov. 5. Therefore, if you sign up during the initial phase, you can enjoy a full four weeks to complete the courses. If signing up after that time, you will have a reduced amount of time to complete the courses. This first phase of courses must be completed by Nov. 5 and participants need to pass a certification assessment in order to go to the next level. This first phase is a great opportunity to see if work in the digital world is right for you. This training is open to all learners. 

The second phase of the training is more in-depth and competitive. Those who finish phase one will need to register and sit for a “Final Assessment.” They will be scored and the top scorers will be awarded a scholarship in one of the practitioner-level Nanodegree Programs. This level course lasts for three months. It, too, is self-paced, expecting an average of 10 hours per week. Participants can complete the courses earlier. Participants will work on real-world problems, learn how to work in teams and in remote settings and will also have online peers and mentors. 

How many times is it possible to receive free on-the-job training? Through this first phase, you can see, for free, if this digital education is an occupation you could be interested in and make a living at. The second phase gives you the skills to go out there and get a job. 

Online services, Web design and other digital jobs are some of the hottest occupations coming out on the market today. The beauty of these courses is you can do them part-time if you are still in a job at this time. Are you ready to get out into the working world? Are you ready to make a change in your life? Is this a job that you could do at home or part-time? Wouldn’t it be worth it for you to investigate? 

Go to the following link,, to find out more about this wonderful job training opportunity. This site will explain in much more depth what is included in each course and more of the registration and scholarship opportunities. It’s worth it for you to even look into the possibilities. Parents, grandparents or friends — pass this information onto those you know who might fit the profile of working digitally or making a job change in their lives. 

Don’t forget we have several virtual events coming up this month and into October. Enjoy the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership’s Breakfast in a Balloon, Seeds of Learning’s Dancing with the Pagosa Stars, and Rise Above Violence’s Art Above Violence Art event. Look at hosting a “Watch Party” and helping to raise funds for one or all of these organizations.