Next Gov: Bipartisan bill seeks to expand workers’ access to digital skills training programs

NEXTGOV, EDWARD GRAHAM

House and Senate lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation on Wednesday that seeks to amend existing law to narrow the nation’s digital skills gap. 

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and David Valadao, R-Calif., and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., proposes investing in digital skills training by providing grants and funding to local, state and organizational employment programs and services focused on upskilling workers or providing them with expanded job opportunities. 

The proposal would modify the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, or WIOA, “to establish a digital skills at work grant program” to promote information literacy for current and new workers.

The WIOA, according to the Department of Labor, is designed to “help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.”

The lawmakers noted in a press release, however, that digital skills training programs are not “an allowable use” under the current law, limiting job seekers’ ability to gain these skills when accessing WIOA career services. 

“Ensuring people have the digital skills they need to navigate the modern job market is critical to the strength of our economy,” Valadao said in a statement. “When people enter the workforce with the foundational skills they need, it not only eases the burden on employers, but it sets people on a path to success for the rest of their careers.”

report released by the nonprofit National Skills Coalition in February 2023 found that 92% of jobs require digital skills but noted that approximately one-third of workers lack the skills needed to take on these jobs. 

The legislation has received support from a variety of business organizations, workforce development groups and nonprofits, with some of the bill’s backers noting the disproportionate impact that the lack of these skills has on minority populations. 

“This groundbreaking legislation addresses an urgent need within our workforce, where the digital divide continues to be a barrier to employment, particularly for communities of color, low-income families, and rural populations,” Samuel Wiggins, chairman of the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. 

Recent Posts


Spanberger Backs Bipartisan Effort to Combat Child Sexual Abuse Material Created by Artificial Intelligence

The “Child Exploitation and Artificial Intelligence Expert Commission Act” Would Establish a Commission to Help Law Enforcement Prevent, Detect, & Prosecute AI-Generated Crimes Against Children WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger backed bipartisan legislation to crack down on the creation of child sexual abuse material using artificial intelligence (AI). In June 2023, the Federal Bureau […]



Jul 18, 2024
Agriculture

Spanberger Announces More Than $92,000 to Implement Nutrition Program at Carver Center in Culpeper County

These Federal Grant Dollars Will Help Implement a Program Using the Carver Food Enterprise Center’s Commercial Kitchen — Which the Congresswoman Helped Construct by Securing Federal Funds in 2022 — for Monthly Delivery of Local, Healthy Food to Virginia Students WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger announced that the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission (RRRC) received […]



Jul 17, 2024
Press

Spanberger, Virginia Democrats Urge Governor Youngkin to Make IRS Direct File Available in Virginia & Help Virginians Avoid Fees

IRS Recently Opened Direct File to All 50 States After Successful Pilot, But Participation Requires Further Action by Youngkin Administration & Virginia General Assembly WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger and Members of Virginia’s congressional delegation urged Governor Glenn Youngkin to take the necessary steps to allow Virginians the option of using the Internal Revenue […]