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Paso Robles receives funding from The Center on Rural Innovation, aims to launch digital innovation

City of Paso Robles
City of Paso Robles and the Hispanic Business Association to receive fully-funded participation in Rural Innovation Initiative

The City of Paso Robles has been awarded funding from the Center on Rural Innovation to help bring in tech-related jobs. 

Rural communities like Paso Robles are not, statistically speaking, a place known for launching tech companies.

“Right now, 97 percent of tech jobs were created in metro areas since 2010," said Leah Taylor with the Center on Rural Innovation, also known as CORI. "And the majority of those entrepreneurs that are developing start-ups are white men.” 

Taylor said that’s a problem they're trying to fix. CORI is a non-profit that partners with rural communities to help build a digital economy, especially in areas that can bring opportunities to local people of color.

“We’ve seen a lot of people have to leave their rural hometowns that they would like to stay in and raise their families in for jobs in urban centers," Taylor said. "We really believe that if we create more tech jobs in rural communities, then more people can choose to stay and raise their families there.”

Taylor said the City of Paso Robles was one of only four rural communities in the nation selected in a highly competitive process to receive $30,000 in funding, which will go towards finding ways of supporting tech-related start-ups and jobs.

Taylor said Paso Robles stuck out as being a city that wants to help bring equal opportunity to a diverse population. While Paso Robles is 57 percent white, Hispanic residents make up the second-largest ethnic group at 38 percent. 

“Innovation can happen anywhere," Taylor said. "And we really think there are a lot of people with good ideas and a lot of drive to make change for the world and for their communities who simply don’t have the opportunities to really explore those ideas and let them take off.”

Taylor said there is untapped talent in the City of Paso Robles, and this funding will help unlock the potential for entrepreneurial tech-related growth. 

“Good-paying jobs are leaving rural communities for urban centers," Taylor said. " Regardless if you yourself are wanting to be a software or digital entrepreneur developer, the fact that there will be really cool software developers in your community is going to create a more thriving economy overall — that’s good for everyone.”

Taylor said the partnership between CORI and the City of Paso Robles, as well as the Hispanic Business Association, will begin in fall.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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