Pennsylvania Invests Millions in Boosting Digital Literacy to Empower Job Seekers

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HARRISBURG, PA — The Shapiro Administration has committed almost $4.9 million in grants to 50 community organizations statewide. These funds are intended to bolster digital literacy programs, a critical skillset in today’s technology-driven job market, opening a pathway to employment for those who need it most.

Since its inception in 2021, this marks the fifth round of funding from the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I). In this cycle, 29 organizations with proven programs, and 21 new entries, have been awarded grants. It’s a welcome influx to enhance digital proficiency and job procurement capabilities, ensuring these programs remain accessible to every resident seeking employment, especially in communities with limited broadband network and high-speed internet.

Digital literacy programs aren’t merely about teaching residents how to turn on a computer; they teach how to navigate job search platforms, understand digital information, and foster responsible digital citizenship. In our increasingly online world, these skills are necessary weapons for a job seeker. They level the playing field, making every job seeker competitive.

“Empowering job seekers with digital literacy skills allows them to step into the job market confidently, said L&I Secretary Nancy A. Walker. “The Shapiro Administration is dedicated to supporting programs statewide, connecting individuals with the knowledge they need to seize opportunities.” She emphasized that this funding round ensures organizations in nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvania’s counties can continue offering these crucial services.

Several organizations will receive L&I support for the first time to initiate new digital literacy programs, each eligible for grants up to $100,000. These organizations span a wide range of locations and communities, from the Afghan Community of Erie Pennsylvania in Erie County, the Drexel University in Philadelphia, to the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology encompassing multiple counties.

Meanwhile, the L&I has also continued its support to organizations maintaining existing digital literacy programs. Among the returning beneficiaries are the Agency for Community EmPOWERment of NEPA, which serves multiple counties, the Greater Erie Community Action Committee in Erie County, and the York Literacy Institute in York county.

While digital literacy may seem ubiquitous to many, in reality, it remains out of reach for a significant portion of the population. The Shapiro Administration’s latest funding initiative is a promising step towards bridging this gap, underscoring Pennsylvania’s commitment to equipping its citizens with the digital skills necessary to navigate the modern job landscape successfully.

However, the success of this initiative relies on local organizations’ abilities to put these funds to excellent use. In a technologically advanced world, digital literacy is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. The results of these programs will, therefore, play a pivotal role in enhancing employability, economic development, and overall prosperity of the communities they serve. Through their collective efforts, Pennsylvania could become a model for digital inclusivity and job readiness in the digital age.

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