On May 20, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board released a five-page call-to-action outlining three recommendations for the COVID-19 economic recovery. In the document, the Advisory Board highlights the need to build technological infrastructure in the United States to ensure that all Americans can access the tools and resources necessary for the future of work.
The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce website, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board provides "advice and recommendations to the interagency National Council for the American Worker on ways to encourage the private sector and... Although the digital divide has been present in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for decades, the need for computers has never been greater as local families struggle to access devices and the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, students, families, and individuals without access to a home device visited libraries, schools, and physical workspaces to complete their homework, pay their bills, and apply for critical services such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Due to the spread of COVID-19, locations like these have closed to reduce the spread of the virus and maintain the health and safety... Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Southwestern Pennsylvania, countless schools have shut their doors and have transitioned to online learning. However, Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) isn't able to make that transition as more than 7,000 students in the school district do not have access to a computer at home. To combat this digital divide, Pittsburgh Public Schools partnered with Neighborhood Allies, the University of Pittsburgh, Google, and a larger coalition of businesses and organizations, including Computer Reach, on an initiative called "Beyond The Laptops" to acquire, refurbish, and distribute 7,000 laptops to local families... In the 21st century, technological skills and digital literacy aren't an option, they're a requirement. Accessing information, paying bills, even submitting job applications, schools and employers are actively transitioning from in-hand paperwork to online documents. Systems are becoming faster and more efficient, eliminating the worries of messy handwriting or lost files. However, with these transitions, something important is being left behind: the people.
Understanding the Divide As technology becomes increasingly available for purchase at stores and online, accessibility remains a major challenge for the individuals who really need it. With barriers such as cost, broadband access, digital literacy,... In April, 26 Boys and Girls Club participants went home with their own desktop computer thanks to a partnership between Best Buy, Computer Reach, and the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania. The Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania describes themselves as, "a unique organization consisting of eight Clubhouses" whose goal is to "provide every young person with the essential tools needed for a successful and bright future." Having grown their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programming in recent years, the Boys & Girls Club is taking big steps...