Coding for Rural America: Part 1 of 4

If the presidential election was any indication, it’s safe to assume that the gap that once existed between rural and urban America is now a chasm.

Originally being from a small town in Appalachia, I recognize the unique hardships that come with living in a rural area. While this series will examine ways in which we as web developers can help rehabilitate these blue collar communities, I am going to dedicate this first post to describing the problems they face.

The Land of Opportunity doesn’t offer much opportunity here. Jobs are scarce, and many families do well to keep food on their tables. Career choices are severely limited, and as of this writing I can only think of a handful of industries and businesses that could be considered stable places of employment (Banking, Law, State Government, and Local Government).

The coal mining industry, once the area’s primary economic vehicle, is nearly gone. As a result, thousands of workers now find themselves unemployed, with no job prospects to be found. In some cases, desperate fathers and husbands are forced to leave their families in order to find work in other states.

Yet, when they turn on their televisions to watch the news, they are confronted by a society that seems extremely pleased with the reduction in coal production, and who act completely impartial to the suffering it has caused.

This is rural America. People here aren’t concerned about global warming, because the immediate threat of poverty is much more tangible. They don’t have the option to change careers, because local lawmakers and government officials did not expect for the industry to collapse, and thus failed to encourage any diversification.

In the next post, I would like to examine ways we as web developers can leverage open source software in order to offer assistance to these individuals, and perhaps help rebuild Rural America in a sustainable way.

This is a big problem with several underlying causes, and finding a solution will be difficult. With that said, open discussions and dialogue are highly encouraged.




Front-End Web Developer, Designer, Renaissance Man

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Chris Beard

Chris Beard

Front-End Web Developer, Designer, Renaissance Man

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