Corteva Agriscience, Accenture Pilot Program to Bring Tech Skills to Rural Iowa

Corteva Agriscience and Accenture are joining forces with nonprofit groups, higher education organizations, and government leaders to help the rural community of Jefferson, Iowa, acquire high-demand, high-value software development technology skills. Students and educators who participate in this pilot project, which will include Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), will gain these skills while remaining in the community of 4,300 people.

“The vibrant collaboration between our business professionals and educators is preparing Iowans for cutting-edge careers in the ever-changing 21st century economy,” says Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

While she says the investment sends a clear message rural Iowa can be a tech hub that will help keep the state’s young people here, it also provides the opportunity to attract others.

25 Scholarships Underwritten by Corteva

Beginning in the fall of 2019, 25 students who are enrolled in DMACC’s computer language program will be eligible to receive a scholarship funded by Corteva. Once they complete the computer science training, select graduates will have the opportunity to participate in a four-month commercial software development training program.

“We are proud to provide 25 rural scholarships to Des Moines Area Community College and fund training for local teachers in the types of critical thinking skills and software development programs that will be necessary for today’s youth to drive the future of sustainable agriculture,” says Jim Alcombright, IT digital and platforms lead, Corteva Agriscience. “We’re looking forward to teaming up with Accenture and expect the students who participate in the company’s technology training program to one day contribute new valuable digital tools that better the agriculture industry.”

The training will take place at a new Accenture office, which is scheduled to open in September 2019.

“Providing students and educators with technology skilling is good for business, good for Jefferson, and good for Iowa,” says Pallavi Verma, senior managing director – Midwest, Accenture. “Together with Corteva Agriscience and other like-minded organizations, we’re looking forward to preparing Jefferson’s future workforce for the digital economy.”

In addition, The Tech will help the Greene County Community School District better prepare students for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) careers. The Silicon Valley nonprofit organization conducted a professional development session sponsored by Corteva for the county’s educators on June 6, 2019. It will continue to support curriculum development and individual educators throughout the 2019-2020 school year.

“Many people who grow up in rural America feel they must inevitably relocate to pursue their education,” says Linc Kroeger, Accenture executive who leads the skilling and workforce rural revitalization initiative in Jefferson. “We can keep talent in rural areas by helping students gain valuable technology skills, which are critical for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

The pilot program was initiated by Pillar Technology, which was acquired by Accenture in 2018 to strengthen its Industry X.0 capabilities. Industry X.0 is the digital reinvention of industry where businesses use advanced digital technologies to transform core industrial operations, worker and customer experiences, and business models. The new Jefferson location will be designed as a Pillar Technology “Forge.” 

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