Broadband Transforms Work: Digital Skills Training & the Workforce - Network:On

Broadband Transforms Work: Digital Skills Training & the Workforce

Broadband Transforms Everything
Published June 3, 2024

Across America, access to the Internet is transforming economies, connecting communities, and unlocking a better future for all. 

For those who grew up in the Internet age, digital skills can be taken for granted. As the relevance and ubiquity of the Internet has grown, it is becoming increasingly difficult to conduct business, apply for jobs, or undertake daily tasks without knowing how to navigate and utilize the Internet – especially in the wake of the pandemic. Yet even today, millions still lack these skills. What many would consider simple tasks like navigating a browser and setting up an email account can still be a challenge for plenty of people – and more and more jobs will require these skills. 

This week, Network:On partnered with Broadband Breakfast and Comcast to host a webinar on the importance of digital skills training. The webinar featured speakers from Comcast, the National Skills Coalition, Code the Dream, and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and addressed key issues like how organizations can keep pace with technological advancements and anticipate future trends and how institutions can work toward bridging the digital divide and fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce.

“Here’s the thing about digital skills: it’s a spectrum, and it’s a massive spectrum. I guarantee that every one of us watching and hosting this webinar have digital skills that we need to learn, and that’s okay,” noted Lo Smith, Senior Programs Manager with NDIA. “Particularly when thinking about digital skills training, we have to think about the skills folks already have. How can we build upon that?” 

Jeran Culina with the National Skills Coalition also discussed the critical issues facing employers and their need to share their digital needs with navigators and educators. “When we started working with employers on this issue, many did not understand what digital skills meant. Because it’s a spectrum, we couldn’t even just say ‘This is what it is.’ Technology has been advancing so quickly across the board – from hospitality, to construction, to agriculture. If you’re an employer listening, you probably have digital skill needs, and maybe you’re not sharing those needs with the education or training providers that are making the program for you.”

Most Americans agree that digital skills are critical for economic growth, especially in essential industries. Comcast vice president Matthew Summy spoke about a recent study that shows widespread support for digital skills training: “Nine out of 10 respondents believe that increased access to digital skills is important throughout their career.” Organizations like Code the Dream are on the ground providing that training – co-founder Daisy Magnus-Ariytey shared that “people are hungry to learn those digital skills. They’re aware that in order to take their careers to the next level, and in order to really compete in this new digital environment, they need those skills.” 

The entire webinar can be viewed here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *