NEW YORK: What’s Mark Zuckerberg’s biggest takeaway as he wraps up a year of travel to dozens of U.S. states? The importance of local communities.

“Most of the discussion we have nationally is about what the government should do, or to some degree what families should do,” the Facebook CEO said in an interview. “People don’t spend that much time talking about community, and I think probably that’s the most important part of people’s support structure.”

To this end, Zuckerberg is announcing a program to boost small businesses and bolster individual technical skills both on and off Facebook. The move shows how intertwined Facebook has become not just in our social lives, but in entrepreneurs’ economic survival and growth.

Facebook says more than 70 million small businesses use its service. Only 6 million of them advertise.

“If this were purely about our ad business or something like that, I probably wouldn’t be the primary person talking about it,” Zuckerberg said. “But because we are kicking off this whole program that I think is going to be critical to the whole mission focusing on building community, I thought it was an important thing to do.”

Facebook wouldn’t say how many of its own employees will be participating in the Community Boost program, which will “visit” 30 U.S. cities next year and offer people free training on a range of digital skills.