Comcast announced today a partnership with the National Skills Coalition (NSC) to educate local, state, and national decisionmakers about the benefits of the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to promote digital equity and opportunity nationwide. The initiative aims to help close the digital skill divide that is currently limiting educational and employment opportunities for nearly 50 million Americans.
NSC received a $200,000 grant from Comcast to help state leaders bridge existing workforce development programs with federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD) and Digital Equity Act (DEA) funding. Digital skills are now required across virtually every industry and occupation, yet nearly one in three U.S. workers lack the foundational digital skills necessary to enter and thrive in today’s workforce, with workers of color and those earning lower wages disproportionately affected. These programs represent a once-in-a-generation investment in closing the digital skills gap equitably.
“If local, state, and federal decisionmakers fully understand its potential – and if workforce and broadband offices work together on its implementation – this federal investment in digital equity could have a profound impact on closing the digital skill divide for tens of millions of America’s workers,” said Andy Van Kleunen, NSC CEO. “We’re grateful to Comcast for their partnership in making that happen.”
“When digital skills grow, our economy grows.”
“The demand for digital skills exists across every industry and throughout the workforce. That’s why we’re proud to partner with the National Skills Coalition to help ensure more local and national leaders are aware of and take advantage of public sector digital equity funds to invest in the skill development programs that are critical to closing our country’s digital divide,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation.
As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress in 2021, states have recently begun to receive historic federal investments in digital equity through the $42 billion BEAD program and the $2.75 billion DEA.
BEAD funding will help states expand access to broadband, digital devices, and digital skills in unserved or under-served communities. BEAD also invests in training local workers to install and maintain new broadband infrastructure in their communities. Complementary, DEA will provide grants to states to support a range of digital inclusion activities, including digital skill building and efforts to advance awareness of adoption programs such as the Affordable Connectivity Program.
In addition to the grant, NSC and Comcast will partner on research, communications, and trainings that highlight best practices for implementing federal digital inclusion funding. The work will engage federal, state and local officials; state workforce and digital inclusion advocates; and national equity organizations.
Comcast’s partnership with the National Skills Coalition is part of Project UP, the company’s comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities.