Capital Region Workforce Boards Champion Digital Inclusion
The Capital Region’s four workforce boards recognize the digital divide must be addressed in order to support inclusive job growth and social mobility for our region’s workers. In response, they have provided a significant investment in the Sacramento Coalition for Digital Inclusion’s (Coalition) efforts to address digital skills, technology access, and broadband infrastructure and affordability needs. The Capital Region Workforce Boards include SETA/Sacramento Works, Golden Sierra Job Training Agency, YoloWorks and North Central Counties Consortium. According to Roy Kim, Deputy Director of SETA/Sacramento Works, “Digital skills have become part of the basket of basic skills that job seekers need to obtain employment and advance along a career pathway.” The funding provided will support the effort to sustain, implement and expand the Coalition’s work to ensure traditionally underserved community members receive access, devices and skill building resources to participate in our increasingly digital world.
Valley Vision is actively working to close the digital divide in the Capital region. The Coalition, managed by Valley Vision, recently completed a 2021 Action Plan as a roadmap to advance and expand digital inclusion in three core areas: broadband access and adoption, hardware devices, and digital literacy and skills. Valley Vision also manages the Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium, connecting the region’s underserved households with high speed broadband infrastructure. By addressing needs in infrastructure, affordability, technology access, and digital skills, our region is taking a comprehensive approach to closing the digital divide – recognizing that these pillars are co-equal in addressing economic and educational inequity.
The Coalition was founded as a response to the 2018 Brookings Institution economic assessment, commissioned by Valley Vision and civic partners in the Sacramento Capital Region. With the onset of COVID-19, the Coalition quickly mobilized and expanded vital digital equity efforts. The effort has expanded since that time and today consists of a steering committee of representatives from the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Public Library, as founding SCDI members, and the Capital Region Workforce Boards, California State University Sacramento, Los Rios Community College District, and Clear Strategies with participation from over one hundred additional community leaders and stakeholders. Advancing digital skills and closing the digital divide are called out as major regional priorities in the Capital region’s inclusive economic development plan, Our Path Forward: The Prosperity Strategy.
The Workforce Boards have been vital contributors to the region’s economic prosperity with prior initiatives that support entrepreneurship, high-growth industry sectors, and through advancing research on the Future of Work. This critical investment in digital inclusion will help to advance an inclusive, regional workforce and further equity efforts in our shared economy.
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Renee John is a Valley Vision Project Leader managing initiatives within the 21st Century Workforce impact area.
Note: The Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium is funded by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).