Ignite Emporia: Future Is Digital Training Program

Ignite Emporia Continues Future is Digital Training Program with Center on Rural Innovation and Microsoft

Ignite Emporia continues its participation in the Future is Digital Challenge skills development program with the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI), an initiative dedicated to tech upskilling to ensure residents of small towns and rural communities are equipped to participate in the 21st-century digital economy. The Skills Development program is hosted by CORI with a grant through Microsoft to provide 20 individuals in the Emporia community with access to Microsoft training programs and professional skills coaching. Participants will have the opportunity to enhance their skills for high demand digital jobs in one of three areas: Digital Marketing, Project Management, or as a Sales Representative.

In 2020, CORI piloted its Future is Digital program and provided 300 scholarships to rural Americans across the Rural Innovation Network. This resulted in 600 Network residents completing more than 7,000 hours of digital skills training. To learn more, read this blog post about the first Future is Digital challenge.

CORI’s next Future is Digital challenge will be a two-phase process over the course of three months. In the first phase, participants will gain new digital skills in one of the following tracks:

Digital Marketing Specialist

Become a digital marketing specialist by learning skills from LinkedIn Learning.

Top in-demand skills: Social media, content strategy, SEO, marketing channels, Google Analytics, Google Ads Business Analytics.

Project Manager

Become a project manager by learning skills from LinkedIn Learning. Courses include project management fundamentals, Microsoft Project essential training, and more.

Top in-demand skills: Program management, process improvement, project performance.

Sales Representative

Learn core concepts and skills necessary in today’s selling environment—from negotiation and closing strategies to selling with authenticity.

Top in-demand skills: Negotiation, CRM, new business development, B2B, storytelling, social media.


Only 20 seats are available for students in the Emporia area to take advantage of this opportunity. Applications are available online now and seats will be filled based on application date.

To learn more about this unique opportunity for people in our region to build skills that will open up new opportunities for them to become part of the growing digital economy, go to shorturl.at/byKTX

For more information, contact Rob Gilligan, Director of Ignite Emporia, by emailing rgilligan@emporiakschamber.org or Ana Blandin, Digital Jobs & Entrepreneurship Specialist at CORI, by emailing ana.blandin@ruralinnovation.us.

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Ignite Emporia is a community-led initiative of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce that is focused on three key areas for community growth and development: Workforce Development, Housing Availability, and Business Retention and Expansion. For more information, contact the Ignite Emporia Director at rgilligan@emporiakschamber.org.

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) is a national nonprofit action tank advancing inclusive economic prosperity and investment in rural America. Working closely with its sister organization Rural Innovation Strategies Inc. (RISI), CORI’s comprehensive approach to digital economic development involves building a nationwide network of local economic change agents; using mapping and data to highlight rural opportunities; making direct investment in underserved rural entrepreneurs; and closing the digital divide so all Americans can participate in the 21st century digital economy.