Applying a racial equity lens to digital literacy: How workers of color are affected by digital skill gaps

Hello Colleagues,

This important National Skills Coalition PIAAC research and advocacy brief about the digital literacy and problem solving skills of African Americans and other people of color in the United States is eye-opening. Among other interesting reminders is that "Current federal investments in workforce development provide almost no dedicated support for digital skill-building; most notably, Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) lists digital literacy as one of numerous allowable activities for adult education programs. WIOA is due for reauthorization in 2020. Digital literacy investments could also be bolstered through other key federal workforce and education policies, such as the Higher Education Act, Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T)."

I recommend the article and would be delighted to hear your thoughts, especially as adult basic skills programs gradually re-open in-person learning, about how our field might address these racial disparities.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology and Program Management groups.


Thanks for sharing the PIAAC brief, David.  I'd also draw people's attention to the Strada Education Network's Work and Education Survey.  This is a weekly snapshot of how affected workers are adapting—and the differences across different generations, education levels, racial and ethnic groups, and fields of work.  

Key findings from this week include the following: 

  • Across all education levels, Latinos and black Americans are more likely to have started a new job than white Americans.
  • The gaps between black and white Americans are largest for those with a high school education or less.
  • The gaps between Latinos and white Americans are largest for those with associate degrees or vocational/technical training.

Strada also hosts a free Resource Center with current data dashboards, articles on education and the workforce, and virtual events supporting informed responses to adult learners' current education and workforce needs.


Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator