4-H and Verizon Renew Commitment to 4-H Tech Changemakers, Training Hundreds More Teens to Teach Adults Digital Skills Across America

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The program will continue to help drive economic opportunity and workforce development in underserved communities across the country

Washington, DC, July 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, National 4-H Council and corporate partner Verizon announced their renewed commitment to the 4-H Tech Changemakers program. The initiative empowers teens to teach adults digital employability skills that promote workforce development in underserved parts of the country. In its third year, Verizon will invest $4M that will enable 4-H teens to bring vital digital skills to nearly 11,000 adults across America, with a focus on rural communities and communities of color.

According to a new report from the National Skills Coalition, a record 92 percent of jobs now require digital skills with older Americans having lower levels of digital skills than younger Americans. The 4-H Tech Changemakers program addresses this challenge by having tech-savvy, Gen Z leaders provide digital skills education to adults in their hometowns.

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Taking an individualized approach, teens are empowered to evaluate their specific community needs to implement the program and maximize economic opportunity and workforce development. This year’s program includes a new innovative curriculum called “Drones for the Workforce” which equips adults with the knowledge and skills to earn a certification that qualifies them to pursue employment in the drone industry.

“Watching how the lack of digital skills has affected my community – watching it stunt personal, social, cultural, and economic growth – really motivated me to teach thousands of adults through the 4-H Tech Changemakers program,” said Ivan Becerril, an 18-year-old 4-H Tech Changemaker in Nogales, AZ and a national ambassador for the program. “I really want to empower my community and show adults that the ability to navigate digital skills is vital to their success in life and their careers.”

As the nation’s largest youth development organization, Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program has the unique ability to bring opportunity and community to young people in every state, territory, county, and parish across the country. The 2023-2024 4-H Tech Changemakers program will be delivered by 13 land-grant universities (LGUs), of which six are Historically Black Land Grant Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This localized method—which puts university faculty and trusted Cooperative Extension professionals at the center of implementation—will ensure maximum impact in the communities that need it most.

“We are grateful to Verizon for their continued investment in 4-H Tech Changemakers,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of National 4-H Council. “Through our unique public-private collaboration, 4-H teens are building critical life skills and driving real change in their communities—from teaching farmers how to optimize ag practices with drones to inspiring entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through digital marketing platforms.”

Through the evolution of the 4-H Tech Changemakers program, with previous partners including Microsoft, teens have trained over 90,000 adults with digital skills to help transform their communities.

“At Verizon, we understand the impact of digital tech training in fostering the growth and prosperity of under-resourced communities,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at Verizon. “Through strategic partnerships focused on bridging the digital divide, we are creating pathways to opportunities that enable upward mobility. Our ongoing collaboration with 4-H Changemakers exemplifies our commitment to driving positive change and advancing economic vitality in communities across the U.S.”

To learn more, visit 4-H.org/TCM.

About 4-H

4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.

Learn more about 4‑H at 4-H.org and follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

About Verizon

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) was formed on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $133.6 billion in 2021. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control.

CONTACT: Julia Majors National 4-H Council 2022621782 [email protected] 

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