Connecting Rural Youth and Rural Enterprise to the Information Economy (Fall 2008 to Fall 2010)

Date: Fall 2008 to Fall 2010

Funding: $497,277

Funding Sources:

National Research Initiative (NRI)
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)

Authors: Co-Principal Investigators: Cliff Lampe, Charles Steinfield, Pamela Whitten

Linking youth programs and rural enterprises will benefit both communities by improving youth ties to the community and proving computer technologies to build small business entrepreneurship.
To thrive in the information economy rural areas must train and retain youth who are fluent with Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and nurture rural enterprises that are connected to the global economy. The project will apply online social networking to forge new social ties between youth and entrepreneurs to enhance the social capital of both groups and the communities in which they live.

The project will draw on community relationships, courseware, and social networking applications to organize online community development forums in three diverse rural counties that will engage youth and small business proprietors in dialogue about entrepreneurial activities in their communities. Rural high schools students and college students from rural communities are expected to form stronger attachments to their communities by learning about entrepreneurial careers available to them and by expanding their social circles, community activities, and pre-vocational interests in their home communities. Small business owners will benefit from tapping the resources of a youthful workforce fluent with ICTs and from networking with each other to develop and share common resources.

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