Creating Opportunity: New Jobs Require Digital Skills and Broadband

About one-third of the U.S. job market is made up of middle-skill jobs, which do not require four-year college degrees. Data indicate that the number of these jobs exceeds the supply of available workers. The skills needed for these jobs include facility with the internet and computers. These digital skills are a pathway to good jobs, but evidence also indicates that many participants in the middle-skill job market lack the skills they need. Bridging workers’ digital-skills gaps can help address larger frictions in the supply of workers for middle-skill jobs in the economy. My new brief, published by the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, looks at several examples of job-training initiatives that use broadband internet to help address digital-skills shortfalls for clients. They are modest in scale and locally driven. Several lessons emerge from this examination:

  1. Partnerships across different institutions can hasten the use of broadband to deliver job-training services.
  2. By going online, job-training services expand their reach, but they also need resources to meet people face-to-face.
  3. Local nonprofits have found ways to integrate digital skills into job training. But these organizations face challenges when students do not have broadband at home or when students have difficulty accessing support services to help ease their path to participating in job training.

Creating Opportunity: New Jobs Require Digital Skills and Broadband Adapting Jobs Programs for Today and Tomorrow