Policy

Labor Job Centers to Become Broadband Learning Center

7/16/2012 1:27 PM Eastern

The Department of Labor said that its almost 2,800 American Job Centers will start providing digital literacy outreach as part of the Federal Communications Commission/Obama Administration/broadband industry Connect2Compete initiative.

That came in an announcement Monday at an employment center in Arlington, Va.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski joined Labor secretary Hilda Solis and others to unveil that new effort, as well as an early 2014 public service campaign through the Ad Council, which puts together pro bono creative with donated ad space and time from TV and radio stations.

The campaign will promote a new database and training locator tool to help identify computing centers and training, which will be released this fall.

As part of Monday's announcement, Connect2Compete released preliminary results from its San Diego pilot program offering $9.95-per-month standalone broadband and $150 laptops to households with school kids eligible for school lunch programs, where more families bought the service from Cox -- the participating cable provider -- during the two-month test than had been projected, according to the FCC.

"We've made some progress closing our adoption and digital skills gaps. The adoption gap between whites and African Americans has been nearly cut in half since 2009," said Genachowski in announcing the addition of the Labor job centers to the adoption effort, but added: "We need to continue closing the broadband adoption gap to make sure that every American can enjoy the economic and social benefits of high-speed Internet. That's what Connect2Compete is all about."

September