National 4-H Council today announced the 2023 4-H Tech Changemaker National Ambassadors. They will serve as spokespeople for the program, which empowers young people to deliver digital skill-building workshops to adults, resulting in practical, real-world solutions that create economic opportunity and workforce development in local communities. The three teens were selected for their outstanding impact in addressing the digital divide and creating economic opportunities within their communities.
The 4-H Tech Changemakers program trains and equips teens who use their tech savvy to teach adults how to use and leverage digital resources to find employment, including online job seeking, marketing themselves on social media, software use, and more. The $5.75 million investment from coalition partners Verizon, Tractor Supply Company, and Microsoft will allow 4-H teens to bring vital digital skills to more than 35,000 adults across more than 15 states, focusing on rural regions and communities of color.
The 2023 4-H Tech Changemaker National Ambassadors
Ivan Becerril, 18, Nogales, Arizona
Ivan joined the University of Arizona Extension 4-H Tech Changemakers program to help teach adults remote access technology during the pandemic. Over time, he saw a wide range of wants and needs across different groups within his community and began adapting his lessons to teach broader skills, from workforce development and communication to identifying cybersecurity threats. He soon began teaching in Spanish after identifying a strong need for digital skills training and education in his community that borders Mexico. Ivan has educated nearly 3,000 people to date.
“The massive digital divide has robbed the people in my community of opportunities and chances to grow and prosper. Whether I’m teaching in English or Spanish, helping elderly people connect with families, or equipping job seekers with skills that strengthen their resumes, the 4-H Tech Changemakers program has allowed me to make a difference and empower others to improve their own lives,” he said.
Zamaria Kinsey, 15, Sunbury, North Carolina
Zamaria joined the 4-H Tech Changemakers program sponsored by Cooperative Extension at N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University to help her rural community that faces a lack of internet access, speed, and providers, making it difficult for youth to do homework or adults to attend virtual meetings. After she began teaching key digital skills, she saw her tips spread among her community through word of mouth, growing the impact of her work. She is now a staunch advocate for increasing internet access in regions like hers.
“The 4-H Tech Changemakers program came at a perfect time as I noticed a gap in basic computer literacy skills in my community. When I first started leading workshops, people of all ages were new to the basic functions of a computer or how to navigate the internet. The program has helped me bridge this gap and set my community up for success as they continue to learn new skills,” Zamaria said.
Hannah Jones, 16, Adairsville, Georgia
Hannah joined the University of Georgia Extension 4-H Tech Changemakers program to develop the local workforce so more people can live, work, and thrive in her rural community. While working with her county government, she also noticed the opportunity to teach government employees how to hone their technology skills. Her workshops have educated hundreds of people from a variety of backgrounds and professional industries to date.
“My belief in the untapped potential of my county inspired me to teach digital skills and help strengthen our growing workforce. From teaching educators to use technology and energize their classrooms to leading strong password workshops, the Tech Changemakers program has allowed me to help my community grow and encourage people to step outside of their comfort zones, taking their digital skill sets to new heights,” Hannah said.
Through 4-H Tech Changemakers, hundreds of teens are teaching digital skills classes designed to help everyone from small business owners to farmers.
About 4-H Tech Changemakers
4-H Tech Changemakers empowers young people to address the country’s widening digital divide by providing them with the education and tools they need to teach digital employability skills, such as online job seeking, social media marketing and software use to adults in their communities. With the support of 4-H’s Cooperative Extension network, 19 Land-Grant Universities will prepare 4-H teen leaders to teach critical digital skills to adults in their community. The program recently expanded its commitment to service more than 50,000 adults across 164 communities nationwide.
»Related: From the microbiome to the sky, technology helps ag go greener