20Fathoms is offering scholarships for digital marketing and business analytics courses through a new program called The Future is Digital Challenge. Adults and high school students who reside in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties are eligible. Enrollment for the program opens on September 22.

This opportunity is available through 20Fathoms’ partnership 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.

In the first phase of the challenge, participants will learn the fundamentals of either digital marketing or business analytics 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+ 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–$1,600, will be distributed across CORI’s entire RIN network.

“20Fathoms is committed to growing Traverse City as a tech hub,” says Lauren Bigelow, executive director of 20Fathoms. “We house learning communities for both software developers—tccodes—and for cybersecurity professionals—tccyber—and now we’re excited to introduce these education opportunities in digital marketing and business analytics.” 

Program participants will receive wrap-around support including a helpful online community, free membership at the 20Fathoms coworking space and mentorship and coaching opportunities.

“This initiative is about equipping people who have little previous experience in these areas with technical knowledge and skills,” says Mark Rembert, director of the Rural Innovation Network 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.”