Re:think Original
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Ideas on Main
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Can one community’s solution be another community’s blueprint?

You can learn a whole lot from our country’s small cities and towns—if you know where to look. With featured case studies from Grow with Google and original reporting from The Atlantic’s in-house creative studio, Atlantic Re:think, Ideas on Main looks for local initiatives worth emulating and presents stories that address pressing questions about modern life and work in the United States.

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Ideas on Main Original Reports

America Has a Digital Skills Gap. Libraries Can Help Fix It.

As branches across the country invest in new technologies and digital services, patrons are increasingly seeing them as go-to hubs for personal and professional development.

Topics: Digital Skills | Libraries

The Smartphone Generation Needs Computer Help

Young people may be expert social-media and smartphone users, but many lack the digital skills they need for today’s jobs. How can we set them up for success?

Topics: Digital Skills | Youth Development

Local Business, Global Following

Small companies are exporting more than ever before. Here’s how that benefits American communities.

Topics: Small Businesses

Preparing the Next Generation of Tech Talent

Companies are looking for digitally savvy Americans to fill hundreds of thousands of tech jobs. New educational models are emerging to teach them the necessary skills.

Topics: IT Certification | Digital Skills

Louisiana Crawfish Company: Bayou Without Borders

Louisiana Crawfish Company started out small 35 years ago. Now, this family business ships 2 million pounds of seafood all across the country. Here’s how they did it.

Topics: Small Businesses

We Need More Veteran Entrepreneurs

Veteran-owned small businesses contribute significantly to both local communities and the American economy. But starting a small business is never easy. Here’s how veterans can succeed.

Topics: Veterans | Small Businesses

What We Have Learned

25% of transitioning veterans say they'd like to start businesses.

From our report on Combat Flip Flops, and the economic impact of veteran-owned small businesses.

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Veteran-owned small businesses employ more than 5 million Americans.

From our report on Combat Flip Flops, and the economic impact of veteran-owned small businesses.

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Veteran-owned small businesses represent more than 9% of all U.S. businesses.

From our report on Combat Flip Flops, and the economic impact of veteran-owned small businesses.

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In the field of IT support, there are 215,000 open roles in the United States.

From our report on the next wave of tech talent, and how educational credentials are providing a new path to jobs.

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62% of HR professionals have a “formal effort to deemphasize degrees and prioritize skills underway” or are “actively exploring and considering this direction.”

From our report on the next wave of tech talent, and how educational credentials are providing a new path to jobs.

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Small and mid-sized businesses account for 98% of all American exporters.

From our report on Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve, a small business creating local jobs by attracting global customers.

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58% of American exporters only export to one country.

From our report on Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve, a small business creating local jobs by attracting global customers.

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Just 1% of America’s 30 million small businesses export, leaving plenty of room for growth.

From our report on Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve, a small business creating local jobs by attracting global customers.

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59% percent of U.S. organizations report a lack of qualified employees with “soft digital skills,” such as the ability to collaborate online and make data-driven decisions.

From our report on the Boys & Girls Club in Madison, Wisconsin, where educators are equipping young people with fundamental digital skills.

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The demand for American workers who possess basic digital skills is predicted to accelerate 69% by 2030.

From our report on the Boys & Girls Club in Madison, Wisconsin, where educators are equipping young people with fundamental digital skills.

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Between 2002 and 2016, the necessity of digital skills in fields such as nursing and human resources increased by at least 50%.

From our report on the Boys & Girls Club in Madison, Wisconsin, where educators are equipping young people with fundamental digital skills.

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73% of libraries provide programs that help people apply for jobs, and 68% offer programs that help people use online job-opportunity resources.

From our report on Birmingham Public Libraries, and the vital role they serve in community digital literacy.

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80% of Americans say libraries should teach people to use digital tools—and a majority of libraries do so. About 84% offer software training, and 90% help patrons with basic internet skills.

From our report on Birmingham Public Libraries, and the vital role they serve in community digital literacy.

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65% of Americans say libraries help them grow as people. For a majority of people, libraries are valuable places to find reliable information and learn new things.

From our report on Birmingham Public Libraries, and the vital role they serve in community digital literacy.

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Stories from Grow with Google

BIT SOURCE:

Appalachian ingenuity

Topics: Digital skills

PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN AMERICA:

The Digital Community Center

Topics: Libraries | Digital skills

TECH SKILLS FOR ALL:

Faith in the Future

Topics: Digital skills

LADYFINGERS LETTERPRESS:

Drawing from Experience

Topics: Small businesses

DANIEL ANDERSON:

IT Support Specialist

Topics: IT certification

About Grow with Google

Now more than ever, Americans need digital skills to land the jobs they want, advance their careers, and grow their businesses. Grow with Google aims to help by providing free training, tools and expertise.

Since 2017, more than three million Americans have grown their businesses and careers with help from Grow with Google’s trainings and in-person workshops. And through a network of more than 5,000 partner organizations—including local libraries, schools, and nonprofits—more people across the country have access to our free online tools and flexible programs.

We believe that technology has the power to unlock new opportunities for growth. When those opportunities are available to everyone, communities across the country can achieve their full potential.

Learn more at google.com/grow

3MM

Over 3 million Americans trained in digital skills

5,000

Partnering with over 5,000 local organizations

More on TheAtlantic.com

For more on how small towns and cities in the U.S. are faring and thriving, visit OUR TOWNS to read original reporting from James and Deborah Fallows as they fly (and drive) across America.