- The National Skills Coalition (NSC) in a December brief called on policymakers to fund opportunities that would build "occupational digital literacy" in workers and job seekers. Such opportunities would allow participants to learn "industry specific but transferable skills," NSC said.
- Policymakers should invest in partnerships between businesses and learning institutions such as community colleges and training providers, NSC said; "These partnerships can be specifically designed to help close racial, gender, and other equity gaps that have served to limit some workers' access to jobs that require technological skills." Congress, for example, should fund community college business partnerships in recertifying the Higher Education Act, NSC added.
- Policymakers can bolster digital inclusion by prioritizing broadband internet access, digital device access and digital skills, according to the report.
"Tens of millions" of workers lack digital skills, NSC Senior Fellow Amanda Bergson-Shilcock told attendees of a panel discussion earlier this year. It's a problem that has demanded the attention of stakeholders, advocacy groups, non-profits, legislators, educators and employers in recent years.
Many organizations, including highly visible entities, have partnered up in pursuit of solutions. In 2018, Facebook partnered with the National Urban League to provide digital skills training to small businesses and nonprofits. Amazon teamed up with nonprofit Merit America to provide IT career training for hourly associates at Dallas-Fort Worth- and Baltimore-area fulfillment centers. And Microsoft launched Accelerate: Houston in September with area businesses and schools to offer digital literacy workshops, educational programming and teacher training as part of the company's broader Accelerate program.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have created a particular opportunity for digital training, according to McKinsey & Company Partner Monne Williams. The sudden need for tools such as videoconferencing pushed workers to brush up their skills. "We're living in an unprecedented moment where people are more comfortable with virtual tools than they ever have been before," said Williams.