Technology: Changing Culture and Access
for New Opportunities
Why should West Virginians on a broad scale embrace technology? Because technology creates many new exciting jobs at the same time it disrupts jobs of the past. Those who are ahead of the technology curve, or at least keep pace with it, can create highly profitable opportunities for themselves and their communities.
According to the nonpartisan advocacy group Change the Equation, from 2009 to 2011 more than three STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) jobs were posted online in West Virginia for every unemployed STEM worker in the state. This placed West Virginia 11th in the country in terms of its shortage of highly-qualified STEM workers.
West Virginia’s young people are starting their own mobile application businesses that enable them to remain in the state.
PracticeLink.com, an online career site for physicians, is thriving in little Hinton, WV, providing over 40 jobs.
Bridgemont Community and Technology College has launched a telework initiative that helps identify and develop high-paying job opportunities that enable WV-based workers to fulfill their roles at home or in high-speed connected workspaces. The Fayette County community of Ansted is an early adopter of this opportunity.
Resources from many diverse sources such as the WV Department of Education, Marshall University, WVU, University of Charleston and free sites such as Coursera.com are opening up unprecedented online learning opportunities for our youth and adults.
The Community Connect Foundation is helping West Virginia cities and counties upgrade their e-government services, making it easier to connect with leaders and fulfill services without waiting in line.
The key for West Virginia is to vastly expand access, education and confidence with technologies of all forms, especially the Internet, e-commerce, software code development and mobile devices. From pervasive use of tablets and laptops in schools to digital marketing and services within our companies, West Virginia must embrace technology for the many economic and quality of life opportunities it brings to our people.
Create WV is committed to envisioning and piloting programs that stimulate our state’s embrace of technology to enable opportunities. One such project is the DigiSo™ program, which stands for “digital and social media.” DigiSo is part talent hub, part incubator, part new-media-new-business think-tank. Create WV partnered with the West Virginia State University Economic Development Center to envision, plan, and launch the program. DigiSo is a physical and virtual talent convener, designed exclusively to engage, develop, and support entrepreneurs, ideas, and opportunities in digital and creative industries.
Since 2007, Create West Virginia has championed practical tools and resources allowing West Virginians to embrace technology.
Photo Credit: ChrisHarrison.net
Harrison is an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University, directing the Future Interfaces Group. His team creates novel sensing and interface technologies that foster powerful and natural interactions between humans and computers. These research often lies in emerging use modalities, such as wearable computing, touch interfaces and gestural interaction. He's also a cofounder of Qeexo, a startup developing "rich-touch" interactive technologies. He says, "My idea of the good life is one of education, creation, and adventure."