Kilmer and Fitzpatrick introduce legislation to close the digital equity gap and expand access to IT jobs – The Suburban Times

Announcement from the office of Representative Derek Kilmer.

Today, US Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) presented the Computer Service Act, bipartisan legislation to support local digital equity initiatives while ensuring that more people can gain experience to access jobs in the information technology (IT) sector. the Computer Service Act establish IT Service Corps volunteers focused on digital equity projects within existing AmeriCorps volunteer programming opportunities, ensuring that people can have an equitable opportunity to access valuable IT experience, while supporting digital equity and literacy projects that bridge digital divides in underserved communities.

“We need to ensure today’s workers are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, including IT jobs. At the same time, countless communities in our region still face digital equity challenges. In recent years, we’ve seen students struggle to log into a course. We have seen older people struggling to get online so they can have a telehealth visit,” Rep. Kilmer said. “The Computer Services Act aims to get people online and help them develop digital literacy skills to access online resources and other needs. It will build the capacity of local digital equity initiatives to supporting communities while ensuring volunteers gain valuable experience relevant to the IT industry.This bill is a win for workers, a win for employers, and a win for local communities.

“I am delighted to join Rep. Kilmer at AmeriCorps Week to introduce the IT Service Corps Act. Currently, professionals looking to enter the IT industry often face significant barriers to entry, including the cost of education and digital literacy gaps, as well as the ability to gain hands-on, hands-on experience Our bipartisan legislation will allow AmeriCorps to establish an IT Service Corps volunteer program, which aims to help volunteers to develop professional and technical skills in information technology and promote digital equity and literacy in underserved communities,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said.

Economists point out that the IT industry has opened doors to new career opportunities at a time when the importance of connecting more Americans and expanding digital equity and literacy has become more important than ever. Unfortunately, there can be significant barriers to acquiring professional and relevant IT skills that prevent the participation of displaced workers and people from marginalized and low-income communities. The ability to stay competitive in a new post-pandemic economy will be critical to the resilience of these members of the workforce.

the Computer Service Act aims to help overcome barriers to entry into the IT workforce and help local communities create more job opportunities. Specifically, the bill:

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· Establishes a new authorized use of funds for AmeriCorps to establish IT Service Corps volunteers within their existing programs. IT Service Corps volunteers would focus on digital equity and literacy projects for underserved communities. Through this bill, AmeriCorps may also consider individuals whose jobs have been displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic, or who have experienced long-term unemployment as a result of displacement;

  • Supports funding to provide technology equipment to volunteers while they are on the job;
  • Supports funding to engage technology industry professionals as mentors for IT Service Corps volunteers;
  • Supports the ability of IT Service Corps volunteers to receive training or financial support for training toward an industry-recognized IT certification; and
  • Requires AmeriCorps to report to Congress on workforce information related to IT Service Corps volunteers.

the Computer Service Act is supported by the Washington Workforce Board, America’s Service Commissions, Service Year Alliance, the Corps Network and Bitwise Industries.

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“On behalf of the US Service and Conservation Corps community, I applaud Rep. Kilmer’s introduction of the IT Service Corps Act. said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president and CEO of The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps. “Through decades of experience, we know that Corps programs offer a proven and effective model for engaging young adults in service projects that lead to work experience and the development of in-demand skills. Corps provides a strategy for training and empowering the diverse 21st century workforce we need. This legislation will help provide a variety of career paths for AmeriCorps participants.

“National Service has long been a pathway to well-paying careers and is already a proven program model for addressing the digital literacy gaps present in underserved communities,” said Kristen Bennett, Chief Strategy Officer of Service Year Alliance. “From Philadelphia to the Twin Cities, AmeriCorps members have come together to teach students and new Americans the technology skills they need to advance and thrive, while earning industry-recognized credentials. We are grateful for Rep. Kilmer’s leadership on this proposal that would expand opportunities for young Americans, as well as those displaced from the workforce, to serve their communities while gaining real-world experience in the IT industry.

“The digital divide has prevented many communities, especially disadvantaged, diverse and rural areas, from benefiting from the technology-based economy and jobs. When young people don’t see technology at work in their communities, it’s hard for them to envision a future career in technology. The IT Service Corps will create an important on-ramp to careers in IT and will also bring IT support to communities and individuals in need,” said Eleni Papadakis, executive director of the Washington Workforce Education and Training Coordinating Council. “IT Service Corps members will perform IT duties at nonprofit organizations that oversee their hands-on work experience and may directly assist customers of those organizations, such as assisting low-income residents and seniors to connect with health care providers through telehealth. , teach digital literacy skills, and provide entry-level job seekers with the computer training needed to apply for jobs online.

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“As the nation continues to move towards a digital economy, connectivity and access to online knowledge are essential. Bitwise Industries applauds the efforts of Rep. Kilmer and the major cosponsors of this bill for their advocacy of respected and influential national service programs that bring underserved communities online. Addressing the issues that have prevented disadvantaged Americans from taking advantage of the Internet and information technology is critical to improving their social and economic well-being,” said Jake Soberal, co-founder and CEO of Bitwise Industries.

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