Secretary Solis and Chairman Genachowski, joined by Connect2Compete (C2C) and Director Susan Hildreth from The Institute of Museum and Library Services, announced at the Arlington Employment Center in Arlington, VA that American Job Centers, a network of nearly 2,800 employment and training centers, will join C2C as a digital literacy provider and outreach partner. Digital literacy is key to finding and keeping a job; 77% of jobs will require technology skills in the next decade and more than 80% of Fortune 500 companies, including Wal-Mart and Target, require online job applications. American Job Centers will add to the C2C network of thousands of free digital literacy providers, including America’s public libraries, non-profits, and companies like BestBuy that will be promoted in a nationwide Ad Council campaign starting in 2013.
I. American Job Centers to Join C2C Digital Literacy Coalition as Digital Literacy Provider & Outreach Partner
- The Department of Labor, which oversees nearly 2,800 American Job Centers, will join C2C’s digital literacy coalition of libraries, non-profits, and community centers as a computing and digital literacy provider.
- American Job Center employees will be trained on C2C offerings and serve as outreach partners for C2C’s broadband adoption offerings, including discounted high-speed Internet and refurbished laptops.
- American Job Centers will be added to C2C’s digital literacy finder tool, a forthcoming web and phone based lookup application for free digital literacy training and public computing center locations.
- American Job Centers provide a full range of career and job-search help. Services vary from office to office, but many have public computing centers and offer in-person or self-paced digital literacy training on topics from basic computing skills to preparing a resume, searching for a job, and applying for a job. American Job Centers also offer access to classroom and online job training programs.
- Enhancing digital literacy builds on the work of the Department of Labor to ensure that the nation’s workforce has the skills it needs to compete for jobs in the global economy.
II. In the Fall, C2C will Launch a Nationwide Digital Literacy Database and Training Finder Tool as Part of a National Ad Council Campaign
- The Finder Tool is a one-stop search tool to find a nearby public computing center or digital literacy provider. The service will be accessible from the Internet, over mobile broadband, or via a toll-free number.
- The database will be populated with thousands of locations comprised of the nation’s libraries, job centers, school locations, public computing centers, and non-profit training providers.
- The finder tool will be promoted as part of the Ad Council’s national digital literacy ad campaign which will launch in early 2013.
III. The Institute of Museum & Library Services is Working to Support America’s Public Libraries and C2C
- IMLS is helping to lead America’s Public Libraries, which represent thousands of digital literacy training locations nationwide, in participating in the C2C digital literacy coalition.
- 77 million Americans over the age of 14 used a public library for Internet access in the past year and 40% of library computer users (an estimated 30 million people) used library resources to help address career and employment needs.
- Grants from IMLS help to create 21stcentury libraries full of vitality and energy. An IMLS grant is helping C2C, WebJunction, and state libraries in Illinois, Mississippi, and West Virginia, to identify strategies that can help libraries to meet public demand for digital literacy training.
IV. Digital Literacy Skills are Key to Finding and Holding a Job and to America’s Economic Future
- 100 million Americans don’t have broadband at home and 66 million Americans lack digital literacy skills, which is the basic skillset needed to use a computer and the Internet.
- Digital literacy skills are important to finding a job and keeping a job.
- 50% of today’s jobs require technology skills, and this percentage is expected to grow to 77% in the next decade. (IDC Research)
- More than 80% of Fortune 500 companies today, including Wal-Mart and Target, require online job applications. (TaleoReserach)
- Digital literacy skills are critical to getting an education and job retraining:
- Acquiring basic digital literacy skills opens the door to a world of online learning opportunity, from basic adult education to job retraining.
- A Federal Reserve study found that students with a PC and broadband at home have six to eight percentage point higher graduation rates than similar students who don’t have home access to the Internet.(Federal Reserve Bank)
- Studies have shown that broadband adoption efforts have resulted in increased test scores and that students actively and regularly used their computers and the Internet for learning.(CFY)
- About 77% of K-12 teachers assign Internet- required homework. (Grunwald Associates LLC)
V. C2C Announces Preliminary Results from San Diego Pilot Program
- C2C’s San Diego pilot program concluded on June 30, which offered $9.95 Internet and $150 laptops to over 18,000 households with students eligible for free school lunch, in coordination with Cox Communications and Redemtech.
- As of June 30th more families purchased high-speed Internet or a computer during the two-month pilot program than projected by C2C, with many families choosing both products, a penetration rate exceeding projections.
VI. Connect2Compete (C2C) is a National Nonprofit Organization Working to Improve the Lives of Americans Through the Power of Technology
- In 2011 Chairman Genachowski helped launch Connect2Compete, a $4-billion public-private initiative to help narrow the digital divide by making high-speed Internet access, computers, educational and jobs content, and digital literacy training more accessible for millions of Americans without home connectivity.
- C2C includes more than 40 non-profit and other private sector partners, such as Best Buy, Discovery, LULAC, the National Urban League, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The program will begin to rollout nationwide in the fall.
- The C2C program includes a nationwide digital literacy effort and $9.95 broadband and $150 computers for eligible free school lunch families. For more information, go to www.connect2compete.org.
VII. This Builds on FCC Efforts to Address the Broadband Adoption Gap
- In 2010, the FCC’s National Broadband Plan recognized that Broadband is our central platform in this 21st century for economic growth, innovation, and information, and that broadband can be the great equalizer – giving every American with an Internet connection access to a world of new opportunities that might previously have been beyond their reach.
- Earlier this year, the FCC reformed the Lifeline Program to help ensure availability of broadband for all low-income Americans. As part of this reform, the FCC will use $25 million in savings from other reforms to test and determine how Lifeline can best be used to increase broadband adoption among Lifeline-eligible consumers.
- Late last year, the FCC finalized a once-in-a-generation overhaul of its Universal Service Fund to unleash billions of dollars of private sector infrastructure spending in rural areas, which will spur broadband buildout to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses ultimately connecting millions of unserved Americans who are being left out of the broadband revolution.