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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

SCAPE announces scholarship program that teaches rural residents new digital skills

By Brittany Cupp

SCAPE announces its involvement in The Future is Digital Challenge, an initiative focused on upskilling rural Americans interested in learning new digital skills to help them participate in the nation’s growing tech economy. 

SCAPE is partnering with the Center On Rural Innovation (CORI), a national nonprofit action tank working to advance economic prosperity in small towns across the country, and Udacity, a worldwide digital career advancement education platform, to make Udacity Nanodegree Program scholarships available for residents living in one of CORI’s Rural Innovation Network (RIN) areas.

“This initiative is about equipping people who have little previous experience in these areas with technical knowledge and skills,” said Mark Rembert, director of the RIN at CORI. “Especially during this uncertain time, we hope to reach learners from all backgrounds, whether they are young adults looking to build technical skills or established workers exploring a potential career change. The digital tech economy is the fastest growing industry in this country, and rural workers are underrepresented — we want to change that.” 

In the first phase of the challenge, participants will learn the fundamentals of either digital marketing, business analytics or front-end development through a self-paced foundational course, sponsored by Udacity. Once the course has been completed, participants can be certified after completing an assessment that tests their knowledge in their corresponding track. Participants will then qualify for a Udacity Nanodegree Program scholarship in one of the aforementioned programs by taking a final assessment to test their knowledge, which will set them up for success with a scholarship. CORI and Udacity will sponsor 3,000-plus seats for the foundational courses and 300 scholarships in the corresponding Nanodegree Programs, based on foundational course performance. Scholarships, each valued roughly between $1,200 and $1,600, will be distributed across CORI’s entire RIN network.

“We know how hard COVID-19 has impacted our community, and we’re glad to be offering this program to those who are interested in gaining new knowledge, said Elizabeth Marsh of SCAPE. “At SCAPE, we believe that rural towns and their economies are more likely to thrive when residents have greater access to economic opportunity. We are proud to be part of the Rural Innovation Network and offer this opportunity to our friends and neighbors.”

To learn more about the scholarship program and sign up for a foundational course, visit the Future Is Digital landing page: https://ruralinnovation.us/the-future-is-digital-challenge/.


SCAPE’s mission is to help create more high-growth, job-creating companies in southwest Colorado. By providing education, mentoring and access to funding for startups and early-stage companies.

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