A recent article published on the White House website outlines more than 100 recommendations, spanning five key areas, from the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. It is clear that we must reevaluate what defines economic success, as it translates to our rural communities.
The following outlines what Onshore Outsourcing is doing with regard to these five areas of need.
Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America: Electronic connectivity is more than a matter of convenience; it’s fundamental for economic development, innovation, and workforce readiness.
In 2017, fiber optic provider Hargray was able to bring a more extensive broadband access network into Glennville, Georgia, with the support of Onshore. Additionally, Onshore’s Macon, Missouri offices were the key to setting up computer labs for students at Macon High School.
Improving Quality of Life: Economic indicators such as affordable housing and reliable employment opportunities must be considered along with social indicators of well-being, such as measures of community resilience.
Onshore created new IT jobs and opportunities for the rural residents of Macon and Glennville, significantly improving their standard of living and quality of life.
Denise Bennett, Executive Director of Macon County Economic Development quoted, “Onshore has had a tremendous impact on Macon County over the past few years. Through perseverance, hard work, and faith, Onshore has changed lives and improved the economic status of Macon County and Missouri as a whole. Onshore does not just create “jobs,” they create careers with futures for their employees in the world of software development. OnShore helps “sell” Macon as a great rural community, with all the necessary and desirable advantages of modern-day technology.
Onshore has become an invaluable resource to the Macon community, our schools, businesses, residents, and our future. Excellent pay and insurance are just part of the benefit package offered by Onshore to their full-time workforce. These above-median salaries allow for employees to remain in the Macon area, spend their money locally, and raise their families in a time-honored lifestyle. For a county of just over 15,000 residents, Onshore is helping to stage tremendous financial recovery for our area.”
Supporting a Rural Workforce: Just as every rural area needs jobs for its residents, every employer needs qualified individuals to fill open positions. Government can help identify that gap, attract available workers, and assist with workforce training.
From their service delivery centers in Macon, MO, Glennville, GA, and Crockett, TX, Onshore specializes in educating, via proprietary boot camps and continuous education, the intelligent but untrained rural worker by investing in their development and training them to become IT professionals. The return on this investment is threefold: it allows us to help revitalize rural America; it produces a workforce with core competencies customized to our clients’ needs; and it yields workers that are passionate, loyal and committed.
Harnessing Technological Innovation: By 2050, experts predict the U.S. population will grow close to 400 million. Better technology is needed to increase output across American farmlands.
As the “first-prover” of rural technology outsourcing, Onshore has championed infrastructure creation and developed IT careers in America’s farmland. With the rise and ease of virtual communication, these rural resources are able to integrate with their clients and provide value-added services rapidly seamlessly.
Developing the Rural Economy: Investing in rural infrastructure will lead to more “Made in America” products available both here and abroad, boosting U.S. global competitiveness in the process.
Onshore’s mission statement to support and reinvest into the local community has been and continues to be the company’s number one goal.
Bert Brantley, COO, Georgia Department of Economic Development, recently commented at a special panel event, part of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Power Breakfast Series, hosted by Onsource, “This year [the State] passed a bill that’s really going to help broadband move across the state… Really excited about the potential for more communities to get connected and have this service. We in the state have invested in our technical college system, in our K-12. We have made these investments in order to make, across the state, our young people competitive in this environment.”
The lively panel themed “Rural IT Outsourcing,” featured Onshore’s founder Shane Mayes, Brent Brantley, Joe Drouin, CIO, Pulte Group, Anita Klopfenstein, CIO, Little Caesars Pizza, Shane Mayes, CEO, Onshore Outsourcing and was moderated by David Rubinger, Market President and Publisher, Atlanta Business Chronicle.
The discussion explored the evolution of rural outsourcing, how companies have successfully taken advantage of it, and how state and local governments see it as a pivotal solution to providing economic growth for some of Georgia’s rural communities. The consensus was that providing better, more interesting jobs, in advance manufacturing, will inspire people to stay and work successfully in their home towns, while enjoying a better quality of life.
Mayes offered an alternative, but slowing changing view, on the importance of a four-year college education. He commented, “I believe in training people for the job to be done as quick as possible, and then creating opportunities for them to learn while earning an income.” He also noted that a person pursuing a long-term career with Onshore can earn quite a good income.
On the topic of aversion to ‘call center jobs,’ he added, “Jobs help people get by. Careers help people live and experience life. We create careers, not jobs.”
Joe Drouin drew attention to the stigma in American society towards vocational training, and reported that some employees, who started as interns or were recruited from Onshore, “have evolved into some of the sharpest and brightest minds that we have on the team.”
Anita Klopfenstein added, “Attitude, aptitude and the ability to write code” is preferred over a four-year degree holder, “who might not have the ability to think for themselves.” They may not have the same eagerness, and stressed she prefers “someone who has a passion and aptitude.”
The final questions were about obstacles for Onshore in the state and “How big can this get?” Mayes advised to address the symptoms of generational poverty and its associated social consequences, as well as the challenge to attract qualified leaders to rural areas to shepherd the entry-level recruits.
Everyone in attendance agreed that Georgia’s approach to workforce development is world-class and the state continues to be one of the best places to do business in the country, and mainly, in its rural areas.
Rural regions make up 97 percent of the United States, with only 20 percent living in these areas. Big city centers still seem to attract the largest pool of talented workers, but today, many people would like to raise their families and build their lives in more rural areas, where the cost of living is exponentially less, and the quality of life is significantly better. Onshore empowers these U.S. citizens with education and training, and the chance to prosper and actually realize their ‘big city dreams’ in their rural homes.
 “New Census Data Show Differences Between Urban and Rural Populations,” United States Census Bureau