Broadband Adoption Key to Jobs and Education
FCC & "CONNECT TO COMPETE" TACKLE BROADBAND ADOPTION
CHALLENGE THROUGH EXPANDED DIGITAL LITERACY TRAINING
BROADBAND ADOPTION KEY TO JOBS AND EDUCATIONLast week, Chairman Genachowski unveiled his proposal to reform the Universal Service Fund to
accelerate broadband build-out to the 18 million Americans who are currently unserved and expand the
benefits of high-speed Internet to American consumers to millions of consumers in every part of the
Today, Chairman Genachowski was joined by executives and nonprofit leaders from across the
broadband ecosystem at the Pew Charitable Trust in Washington, D.C., where he applauded "Connect to
Compete," a new nonprofit initiative. This is a first-of-its-kind national effort to address the barriers to
broadband adoption, digital literacy and the employment skills gap. In addition, he announced an FCC
proposal to launch a Digital Literacy Corps.
In May 2011, Chairman Genachowski challenged the broadband ecosystem to help close the adoption
gap. In response to this challenge, private sector and nonprofit actors met the challenge and announced
significant commitments to tackle digital literacy, one of the core barriers to adoption. Including: Best
Buy's Geek Squad; Microsoft; Arise Virtual Solutions; CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com,
MetrixLearning, BrainFuse; Sesame, Discovery Education and several of the nation's most effective
grassroots community organizations.
THE BROADBAND ADOPTION CHALLENGE
One-third of all Americans 100 million people haven't adopted broadband at home.
Broadband adoption is key to America's competitiveness to jobs, E-Government, education,
and energy. According to the Pew Research Center, the top three obstacles to broadband adoption
are digital literacy and trust, relevance and cost.
In May 2011, Chairman Genachowski announced his broadband adoption initiative challenging
the broadband ecosystem to help close the adoption gap; today marks the first response to that
challenge. There is no silver bullet to closing the adoption gap. It will take ongoing efforts across
government, nonprofit and private sectors working together to close the gap.
We cannot close the adoption gap without reforming the Universal Service Fund. Almost twenty
million of the 100 million non-adopters simply do not have access to high-speed Internet. USF
reform is needed to bring these consumers broadband.
THE BROADBAND ADOPTION OPPORTUNITY
More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies today, including Wal-Mart and Target, require
online job applications.
Students with broadband at home have a 7 percent higher graduation rate.
Consumers with broadband at home can save more than $7,000 a year.
Closing the broadband adoption gap will create $32 billion in annual economic value, or about
$100 for every American, every year.
Right now, government spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year on paper
communications with citizens, most of whom are non-adopters. If we move more services online,
we can incentive broadband adoption and make government more efficient.
"DIGITAL LITERACY CORPS" PROPOSAL: EXPAND TRAINING ACROSS AMERICA
According to a recent Gates Foundation-funded survey, only 38% of all public libraries offer a
basic digital literacy class and only 25% in rural America.
Chairman Genachowski's proposal would enable thousands of more libraries to host in-person,
basic digital literacy training programs
The proposal would expand digital literacy training to the FCC's "School Spots" program, which
allows schools to keep their computer labs open after hours for students and their families.
Together, these new library and school literacy courses and instructors would form a new "Digital
Literacy Corps," an idea first discussed in the National Broadband Plan.
TODAY'S ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM COMPANIES AND NONPROFIT ACTORS:Private-sector companies join non-profit groups to offer basic and advanced digital literacy training and
certification, including commitments from:
Best Buy, a specialty technology retailer, will put its 20,000 Geek Squad Agents to work
nationwide to train Americans in basic digital literacy. Geek Squad Agents will begin training
Americans in 20 cities, large and small, over the next year, with plans to expand to additional
communities. The Geek Squad will also train trainers, working with community groups to train
others how to teach digital literacy.
Microsoftwill offer basic and advanced digital literacy training and certification. The company
will offer basic digital literacy and free job skills training including Microsoft Office. Beginning
in 15 states over the next three years, Microsoft will work with its partners to deploy training in
Microsoft Office through schools, libraries and community colleges. Microsoft has also offered to
conduct basic in-person digital literacy and office training in their stores nationwide. The
company will also build a state-of-the-art online digital literacy training center with videos and
other easy-to-follow content.
Arise Virtual Solutionswill in the coming year provide live, online training to help job seekers
develop the customer service and interpersonal skills that today's employers demand, with plans
to make self-paced training available going forward.
Grass-roots organizationsjoin Connect to Compete to help build a national seamless web of
digital literacy trainers, including the Boys and Girls Club, Goodwill, 4H, and members of the
Broadband Opportunity Coalition: The Asian American Justice Center, National Council of La
Raza (NCLR), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Urban League,
One Economy, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Minority and Media Telecommunications
CareerBuilder.comwill offer online prep or actual certification courses for only $1 per course in
high demand employment areas such as technology, healthcare and manufacturing, to the hardest-
pressed job seekers. On a quarterly basis, the company will release a "Skills Gap Monitor" that
lists the top 5 "in-demand jobs" for which further online training or certification could make a
difference between finding a job and not. Job-seekers will also be directed to specific job listings
for these in-demand jobs.
Monster.comwill identify "middle skills" jobs in which there are more openings than qualified
candidates and identify the skills and certifications job seekers will need to land those
jobs. Monster will also provide job-search resources tailored to the needs of Americans new to
Discovery Educationwill contribute their premiere educational content, including video clips
and digital lessons, to help bolster student achievement. With topics ranging from two-digit
addition to presidential elections, proven resources for student success will be accessible free of
charge to America's neediest students and their parents.
MetrixLearning,an e-training company, has offered to provide free online training for job
seekers needing to hone their basic skills to get hired, from basic math to interview skills. The
training will be available not only in English, but in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
Brainfuse, an online job-hunting, tutoring, and collaborative learning service, will provide
individualized application and resume-writing assistance for free to the nation's hardest-pressed
Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization, has offered to provide content
including games, videos and other educational materials from its outreach projects on hunger and
CONNECT TO COMPETE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONPrivate companies and non-profits have announced the formation of Connect to Compete, a non-profit
initiative, to execute the offerings made on expanding digital literacy and helping Americans close the
jobs skills gap. The new organization, which will be housed at One Economy, will be a collaborative
effort with other non-profits and industry partners.
Leadership: Kelley Dunne will lead the initiative as part of his current role as CEO of One
Economy, one of the most effective and reputable organizations in the digital literacy space
Advisory Board: the Connect to Compete non-profit will have an advisory board, which will
include the following key players in this initiative: Common Sense Media, Connected Nation,
CFY (formerly Computers for Youth), an education non-profit, Best Buy, Discovery, Marc
Morial, the Chairman of Broadband Opportunity Coalition, the Knight Foundation, and others.
Accountability: The Media and Technology Institute of the Joint Center for Political and
Economic Studies will serve as the independent evaluator of Connect to Compete and will
implement a longitudinal research plan that sets program metrics and assesses the short-and long-
term impact of the initiative.
The Knight Foundation,a prominent thought leader in the broadband ecosystem, will support
Connect to Compete with resources to help shape and lead the program.
Leading non-profit partners will provide thought-leadership and open their networks to distribute
information about Connect to Compete resources and training, including members of Broadband
Opportunity Coalition, CFY, Common Sense Media, Connected Nation, Goodwill Industries
International and the National League of Cities.
To learn more about Connect to Compete, visit www.fcc.gov or www.connect2compete.org
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