Since 2017, businesses and organizations across Shasta County have been in collaboration on an effort to supercharge the area’s economy – Project Hometown. Right now, we at the Shasta EDC are witnessing first clear evidence that Project Hometown can deliver on its ambitious promises for the community, as trained students sell their first websites to county businesses.
Goals of Project Hometown
Since the very beginning, Project Hometown has been a community focused endeavor. As founding contributor Joe Mckenna explains it, “Project Hometown is not a technology platform. It’s not even a business. It’s an agreement, and a movement between local web developers and local business organizations to all come together to help local businesses have a presence online, selling their projects and services online the way people want to buy.”
“Right now,” he adds “ There are somehow between 500 and 1000 websites from Shasta County and most of those aren’t mobile-friendly, they’re not e-commerce, and they’re hardly being found. When our customers in Shasta County look for a service or product, they’re finding things from outside Shasta County, and we’re not pulling people in.”
“Imagine the shift that could happen for our community if all 17,000 businesses in Shasta County had an online presence – a good one, the way it’s supposed to be done.”
Project Hometown provides a framework in which everyone benefits as web developers, businesses, and students achieve this goal.
The story of Project Hometown begins with CloudWise Academy. Since its inception in the summer of 2016, CloudWise Academy has aimed to make the tech skills businesses need more ubiquitous in the area through accelerated, job-focused, inexpensive training for students.
Now with Project Hometown, these students have a direct pipeline from education to career. High school students are able to sell professional level websites built in class to companies in the area. The students gain a foothold in the fastest growing career in the country, and businesses gain good websites for very low costs.
The first Project Hometown class began in May and is currently wrapping up, with one student already having sold their first website.
In the future, these students will go on and provide a talent pool for local web development firms, making it easier for them to address the digital needs of business at a high level. In this way, the work done through Project Hometown at the moment feeds on itself to deliver more successes going forward.
Currently, collaborators for Project Hometown include Pacific Sky, MKTG, Shasta.Com, Shasta and Anderson Chambers of Commerce, Cloud Potential, Optimize Worldwide, KCNR Radio, Shasta High School, the Shasta Economic Development Corporation, and many others.
Tony Giovaniello, President of the Shasta EDC, says, “If all of our businesses do this, our community presence can be greatly amplified through digital marketing, creating a beacon of commerce in the global digital marketplace. Together, we are more powerful.”
Join the movement
Project Hometown is a project to make Shasta County a more prosperous place – pure and simple. A greater digital presence means a better economy – with the innumerable benefits that entail.
Businesses that need a website and want to make the community better at the same time are encouraged to explore projecthometown.com. The more groups become involved and help spread, the faster we can build an online presence that enables customers to buy local as easily as they would buy from Amazon.