About The Rural Design Collective

Short, Hip Version

The Rural Design Collective is a remote mentoring program with a local focus designed to help motivated, creative people begin a career on the Internet. Geographically located in Port Orford, OR, near Sixes, its default integer is an allusion to the central-most mile marker in town. The program was founded by Rebecca Hargrave Malamud in 2007.

Long, Erudite Version

The Rural Design Collective is a remote mentoring program with a local focus designed to help motivated, creative people begin an independent career on the Internet. The mentoring program is structured on a three month time-frame where mentorees are matched to projects that suit their creative skills. The mentorees learn-as-they-earn, working on real projects that help their community or establish their credibility as a professional. They complete the three months with a real project and professional client relationships.

The mentoring program takes place in a state-of-the-art computing environment where the participants are outfitted with hardware and software that is considered industry standard in their particular field of interest. They learn to work remotely using collaborative tools and social-networking sites, and are required to meet production deadlines and interact with their clients one-on-one either using online communication tools or by conducting on-site meetings. The culmination of the three month program results in a finished product in the mentoree’s field of interest, and is accompanied by a publicized “launch party” where the participants get the opportunity to demo their creations to the community. The mentorees are in charge of organizing the marketing campaign for this event as well.

The higher aim of the program is focused on developing new work opportunities in rural areas and improving the local economy in the process. This will be achieved through highly specialized training based on an individual’s creative skills and through developing web presences for local businesses and organizations in the area. These local projects will be appropriate pairings of a mentoree to a local business or group that encourages a sense of local community and increases awareness of the RDC program. The initiative will also encourage social responsibility through works for and contributions to charitable organizations and volunteer causes (either local or global in nature).

The apprenticeship program will introduce economic, creative and technical challenges that may not be readily available through local opportunities. Important concepts germane to working on the Internet today will be stressed (Web 2.0, open source development, web standards, etc.). This will raise the bar for the existing local initiatives as well, ensuring that any project developed through the RDC program is interoperable and networked as current best practices.

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