Goodwill of the Heartland supports digital inclusion

Digital Inclusion Week aims to promote digital equity nationwide. Locally, Goodwill team members raise awareness about teaching digital skills, improving access to job-specific training, and discussing supportive services for individuals seeking new opportunities.

We understand that providing digital skills access, especially to those facing disadvantages, strengthens our communities. Nationally, over 92 percent of jobs require digital skills, but approximately one-third of workers lack the foundational knowledge needed. In Iowa and Illinois, 90 percent of jobs demand foundational digital skills, with nearly 46 percent involving digital tasks exclusively. Access to digital skills and IT training at our Helms Career Centers and Certified for Success programs empower people to succeed and thrive, benefiting individuals, families, businesses and communities of all sizes.

In today's world, where people manage taxes, job applications, medical appointments, grocery orders and social connections online, internet access isn't a privilege but a necessity. We cannot allow geography, disability or cultural differences to limit access to opportunities and resources.

Digital skills are crucial for economic mobility. Workers with even one exclusively digital skill - a task completed solely online - earn an average of 23 percent more, approximately $8,000 per year, compared to jobs without digital requirements. According to a report by the National Skills Coalition, jobs demanding more digital skills also offer higher median hourly wages. Building foundational tech skills, specialized occupational skills and facilitating upskilling and reskilling are essential for bridging the digital divide and achieving digital inclusion. Digital skills are integral to work, learning and daily life. We collectively bear the responsibility of ensuring everyone has access to the devices, skills and bandwidth needed for success. That's why our team collaborates with local libraries to provide free, walk-in digital skills training, and we eagerly anticipate more partnerships supporting digital literacy and personal growth.

Digital inclusion requires devices, access and training. Goodwill can help.

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