WASHINGTON, August 26, 2009 – The Federal Communication Commission’s August 26 workshop on high-speed internet’s impact on job training extolled the virtues of broadband for the delivery of employment services and job training.
Whether searching for jobs positions, or online research of employment opportunities, workshop panelists agreed that dial-up service could not be used in this day and age.
“The speed of internet helps to improve online classes,” said Heather McKay, the director of innovative training and workforce development at the Rutgers University. “It helps to navigate through the course work they need [on line] and it also helps them submit it faster.”
It not only benefits the education realm, but also the job market.
Yvette Herrera, senior director education and communications and from the Communications Workers of America, discussed two programs the union has set up to help maintain job security and to help with teaching workers obtainable skills that are needed.
“Online programs help workers gain the skills in fields were the technology is changing,” she said. Telecommunications is an example of such field.
Even with such programs available, there were still some problems with accessing it for the reasons of lacking computers or lacking high speed internet.
McKay said that the U.S. Department of Labor had supported a trial study concerning educating single mothers online. These single mothers were given a laptop, a printer and voucher for the use of the Internet for a year to complete some form of education.
“Out of 128 women, 92 percent completed the course work and 15 of them went onto college,” she said. “After that one year course, they saw an average of a 14 percent wage increase.” In other words, providing information in a convenient form opens a world of job possibilities, she said.
Eric Winegardner, vice president of client adoption for Monster Worldwide, said, “As of right now there are over 5.2 million job openings that need to be filled.” Of those, “2.2 of those are just from the month of August.”
Monster.com assists in creating a resume, along with finding job openings and comparisons for a job in question. This site also enables the browser to compare the skills they have with people who hold positions they want to work in.
“The opportunity to search for this information is there,” Winegardner said, “but without broadband, the opportunity is taken away.”
“The opportunity to jobs and different forms of education is limited,” said Tim Hill, president of Blackboard Professional Education, an e-learning software company. The Internet provides flexibility for people who want to gain a certification they need for their occupation.
To expand the accessibility of computers and the broadband service, Herrera and McKay urged subsidies or vouchers for people to gain the access.
“They need to have knowledge of this technology,” Hill added. “Once they have it and know how to use it to their advantage, they’ll want to use it, and they’ll want to use it all the time.”