DIGITAL LITERACY AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Digital Literacy is defined as using digital technologies, communications tools, and/or networks to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create, and communicate information in order to function in a knowledge society. Digital Literacy is essential both to drive demand for broadband adoption and to ensure that broadband adoption is sustainable, which is why CETF began public policy work in 2007 by reviewing literature, rubrics, and standards worldwide about information and communication technology (ICT) skills and preparing a base framework for California policymakers. CETF also declared libraries as the “digital hubs for communities” and participated in several forums to promote that role. Today, the ability to access employment, education, healthcare, and financial services is dependent on digital skills. Most job applications and all unemployment forms must be filed online. Digital Literacy is required for workforce readiness because almost every job requires use of some type of digital technology and an increasing number of employers need workers with ICT skills. In K–12 education, the shift to Common Core Standards curricula and computerized assessments requires students to be familiar with using computers to do their homework and take tests.
Highlights of Results:
- CETF convened experts and stakeholders to develop and publish the California ICT Digital Literacy Policy Framework for the Governor’s Office and Legislature that summarized global practices and set forth standards and performance indicators with consensus from testing and assessment companies. This ICT Digital Literacy Framework was referenced in the President’s Broadband Opportunity Council report.
- CETF sponsored the Governor’s Executive Order on Digital Literacy in 2009 that built upon the Governor’s Broadband Task Force Report State of Connectivity to put California on a path to become a national leader on Digital Inclusion. As a result, the California Technology Agency (CTA) prepared the action plan Digital Literacy Pathways in California in consultation with other State agencies and stakeholders. CETF funded LINK Americas Foundation, Inc. to assist CTA in launching the iCALIFORNIA Digital Literacy Campaign.
- CETF sponsored EmpowerNet California, a collaborative among workforce training organizations, to develop a Tool Kit to assist workforce preparation organizations in training “hard-to-employ” Californians for careers in information technology. CETF and EmpowerNet secured resolutions from local Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) to promote ICT training in all career pathways.
- CETF facilitated collaboration with the California Workforce Association (CWA) and California Workforce Development Board to conduct a webinar series for WDBs to conduct a webinar series for WDBs to integrate ICT career pathways into workforce training. CETF also supported: East Bay Economic Development Alliance to assist East Bay WORKS focus on ICT skills and develop an online directory of ICT training programs; and Southeast Community Development Center to underwrite advanced ICT skills training for their students from the community college.
- CETF and The Stride Center implemented the SlingShot Initiative for Contra Costa County to spur employer-driven training for ICT skills.