Leading employers joined forces in March 2021 to form the Employer Network Advancing Digital Skills and Equity, a peer network of employers from across industry sectors who are working together to ensure the country’s workers, learners, and communities have the technology access and digital skills essential for thriving in today’s digital economy.
Led by Digital US in partnership with UpSkill America at the Aspen Institute and the EdTech Center @ World Education, this network leverages their collective reach and deep understanding of employer and community needs to share information and accelerate widespread scaling of high quality, employer recognized resources, training, and effective practices to build digital resilience.
Public resources created include:
Company leaders in the network are collaborating to champion the priority, visibility, and action around digital skills for learner-workers across the country adding depth on digital skill and equity needs to other critical employer workforce initiatives. This network is focused on building real solutions and deploying knowledge and resources urgently needed to advance the digital resiliency of learner-workers across the nation. Participating companies are mostly Fortune 500 companies such as Accenture, Amazon, General Dynamics, Google, JPMorgan Chase & Co, McDonald’s Corporation, Red Ventures, Walmart.org, Wiley, and Workday.
“These employers share a core belief that digital skills, digital inclusion, and digital access will unlock opportunity and provide greater access to jobs and career advancement. Further, companies have a role to play in the solutions and in equipping workers with the skills needed, regardless of where they live, learn, or work. This is more critical than ever as companies move more of their hiring, onboarding, and training processes online and as the use of technology in the workplace expands,” said Jaime Fall, Director, UpSkill America.
Though the need to build digital skills among the workforce isn’t new, the COVID-19 pandemic increased the urgency of accelerating digital access and skills training while shedding new light on widening racial inequality and economic mobility. The employers in the network represent a broad spectrum of digital skill needs, across a diverse set of occupations, sectors, and geographies showcasing the prolific, universal nature of digital skills. They have come together with a shared understanding that making digital skill development opportunities more accessible and effective is a lynchpin in all equitable reskilling efforts.
“Digital divides both reflect and exacerbate existing racial, gender, class, and other disparities. Employers have the power to catalyze investment in the digital inclusion and training of their employees and the communities in which they work to help Digital US meet its goal of ensuring all of US have the technology skills and digital resilience to thrive in work and life,” said Priyanka Sharma, Vice President, U.S. Division, World Education.
Some of their first activities include to: capture the voice of employers around needs, gaps, role and the definition and measurement of digital skills within and across the broader workforce. Increase the proportion of employers who recognize digital skills in their hiring process and decision-making; elevate the visibility of employer engagement related to digital inclusion and digital resilience for all Americans; unpack the training, assessment and other tools and resources currently available such that employers can better utilize what is currently in the market; develop and deploy a set of shared resources for companies to utilize internally and across communities in which they work.