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GDI News

Spring 2002 Issue # 2
Increasing Diversity in the Digital Economy

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In December, the Gender and Diversities Institute participated in the National Policy Association (NPA) fact-finding "Digital Divide Economic Opportunity" conference. The discussions, challenges, and recommendations presented in this Kansas City, Missouri conference are now available both as an online document and printed volume. Building a Digital Workforce: Reaching Out to Underserved Communities looks at the issues and solutions for overcoming barriers to recruiting and training those who have not been part of the digital economy.

GDI director Katherine Hanson moderated a panel on women and minorities, one of four sessions that looked at different aspects of the IT challenge. The other sessions focused on people with disabilities and seniors, rural communities, and inner city communities. This conference was the second in a series of three organized by the NPA's Digitial Economic Opportunity Committee. Panelists presented their findings and recommendations to the DEOC committee, chaired by Ralph P. Craviso, Vice Present, Workforce Effectiveness at Lucent Technologies, Jack Golodner, President Emeritus, Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, and Paul Almedia, President, Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO.

Through these meetings and the summary publications, the DEOC will make recommendations for how businesses and unions could:

  • Assess workforce training needs, train current and prospective employees, and help employees gain experience applying those skills
  • Expand resources for employees to participate in training programs
  • Tap into nontraditional labor pools, including older workers, minorities, women, and college graduates from non-IT disciplines
  • Fund and support programs to relieve pressure on post secondary workforce development teaching infrastructures
  • Encourage technical workers to become involved in local school systems
  • Increase on-the-job training and form industry/union/education/community partnerships to expand workforce development and training at all levels
  • Join together to help under-represented groups, especially in low income and rural communities, to enter the IT labor market
The issues, models, and recommendations outlined in this volume can help business, educators, and communities build economic opportunity for many who are currently not part of the digital workforce.


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