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Connecting Rural Communities with 21st Century Work Opportunities

July 16, 2014

Karen Beaman, Director Agent Acquisition and Onboarding, discusses a recent event she spoke at to advocate for the expansion of broadband so more Americans can access to work-at-home opportunities.

I was recently honored to represent LiveOps among industry influencers at the Connect Iowa Broadband Summit, discussing Iowa’s broadband efforts alongside state leaders and industry professionals. The work of these individuals, organizations, and programs has the potential to open up a new world of at-home work opportunities for their communities through broadband access and training. I participated in thought-provoking and challenging conversations throughout the event, each bringing home the impact that a high-speed broadband connection can have.

Could you live and work in a community that doesn’t have access to the Internet? At first thought, it may not seem like much of a challenge. Maybe how you spend your free time would be affected. No Netflix, no Internet-based multiplayer video games, no access to the seemingly endless supply of recipes, fewer options for news consumption. The list goes on.

But in reality, much of your life could be impacted. Your children wouldn’t have the Internet as a learning resource, even in their schools. Your work choices would likely be limited. Computer and Internet literacy skills are required for most 21st century work opportunities, but when your community lacks the resources necessary for you to learn and use such skills, your options become significantly limited.

This is reality for the 30 percent of American adults ages 18 and older without a high-speed broadband connection at home. Connected Nation is an organization striving to accelerate broadband availability and use for all Americans, working alongside partners and programs to make widespread high-speed Internet access a reality. Connect Iowa, one such program, recently hosted its annual Broadband Summit, and I was invited to participate for LiveOps on a panel to discuss “Digital Job Creation.”

This panel was facilitated through Digital Works, a Connected Nation program that offers training for the 21st century workforce as well as work placement. Digital Works has an established relationship with LiveOps as an agent recruiting partner. Once high-speed broadband is available to a community (through the efforts of Connected Nation), Digital Works trains individuals to use the Internet and deliver customer service, and once they’re ready, assists them in applying for work-from-home independent contractor opportunities with LiveOps. This program has had a striking effect in areas like Gibson County, Tennessee, where it helped decrease unemployment from 19 percent to 9 percent. Programs like Digital Works enable individuals living in rural communities to acquire skills that are not only valuable to them as independent agents, but are also highly transferable to future opportunities.

I had a wonderful time speaking on this panel alongside the partners and programs generating new opportunities for these communities, and I was inspired by the story shared by Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon. LiveOps strives to contract the best people for the opportunity, regardless of location, and our company supports the efforts of programs such as Connected Nation, Connect Iowa, and Digital Works. Expanding community access to high-speed broadband allows LiveOps to make a difference for a whole new generation of home-based rural agents. It is encouraging to work at a company that, in cooperation with such programs, has the potential to change someone’s way of life through technology.

How would your life be different without Internet access?

"I am able to spend time with my husband who is retired from the military. I can take vacations any time of the year without asking for that time off. I can go spend time with my children, their school events, doctor appointments, sports, birthday parties, etc."

LiveOps Nation Member, wife, and mother from Georgia

"I could rave and rave about LiveOps! Working for them allows me to remain a stay at home mom in this economy. If it weren’t for this opportunity, I'd be away from my children somewhere, working in an office, and they would be at a sitter after school. Thank You LiveOps!"

Stay-at-home mom and LiveOps Nation Member

“LiveOps provides us with all [the] tools for certification and education of client products within LiveOps University, resources on product information, [and opportunities] for agents to share ideas and successes with other agents. Great management and tools to help your business succeed.”

LiveOps Nation Member since 2008

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