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Comcast, Walmart, Microsoft, AT&T, IBM, Cognizant among those highlighting the essential role of skill building in closing the digital divide
WASHINGTON, DC, October 2, 2023 - Today, with the launch of Digital Inclusion Week, National Skills Coalition (NSC), Business Leaders United (BLU), and over 70 corporate partners – including Fortune 500s, Chambers of Commerce, and small businesses – released a set of principles for closing the digital divide. The principles bring attention to the often-overlooked role of digital skill building in digital inclusion.
Earlier this year, an NSC and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta analysis found that 92% of jobs require digital skills, but one-third of the workforce hasn’t had an opportunity to develop basic, foundational digital skills. This digital skill divide disproportionately impacts workers of color, low-income individuals, and people who live in rural areas, due to historic underinvestment and structural inequities.
In addition to noting the importance of access to broadband and high-quality devices, the sign-on lays out three principles for digital adoption:
“New, once-in-a-generation federal investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, along with investments and partnerships across the corporate sector, present an opportunity to close the digital skill divide,” said Rachel Unruh, NSC Chief of External Affairs. “These principles provide a roadmap for how public and private investments can be deployed to create economic opportunity. We’re grateful to all our corporate partners for their leadership and vision.”
Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation will join NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen and other corporate leaders who have signed the principles for a Fireside Chat broadcast [link to page] on October 5th at 3:00 ET to talk about the principles and Comcast’s leadership in tackling the digital skill divide through its $1 billion Project UP commitment.
“We’re proud to join NSC, BLU, and other corporate leaders in signing these principles,” said Wilson-Scott. “In addition to making direct investments in proven strategies like digital navigators, Comcast wants to help make sure that more local and national leaders are aware of and take advantage of public sector digital equity funds to invest in the skill development programs that are critical to closing our country’s digital divide.”
“The rapid pace of technological change in the workplace requires investments in digital skills training so that employers can grow and succeed,” said MJ Ryan, BLU member and Vice President for Workforce Development & Economic Opportunity, Human Resources at Mass General Brigham. “At Mass General Brigham, we hope that elected officials will use these principles as a roadmap for centering digital resilience in our nation’s workforce and education policies.”
The announcement was made as part of national Digital Inclusion Week, an effort led by National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) to promote awareness, recognition, and celebration of digital inclusion efforts across the country.
“We’re thrilled to have so many partners in the corporate sector leveraging their time, influence, and resources to lift up digital skills as an essential part of digital inclusion,” said Angela Siefer, NDIA Executive Director.
About NSC: National Skills Coalition fights for inclusive, high-quality skills training so that people have access to a better life, and local businesses see sustained growth. We engage in analysis and technical assistance, organizing, advocacy, and communications to improve state and federal skills policies.
About BLU: Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU), a National Skills Coalition initiative, is comprised of employers from a range of industries across the nation who are concerned about our nation’s skills mismatch, who are working with local partners to train and hire community residents for skilled jobs, and who want our country’s policymakers to follow suit and invest in the skills of America’s workers.