Igniting our digital future as a state known for learning

Posted on Aug 25, 2022 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main

Imagine a Hawai‘i where 100% of our workforce is digitally literate and can adapt as technology evolves, learning the skills needed to succeed in a changing job market. That’s the vision of a forward-thinking Hawai‘iteam of state and local organizations dedicated to digital equity. The team has developed a five-year plan for advancing digital training for the state’s workforce.

Governor Ige and the team planning to advance digital equity and training.

“Hawai‘i is at a critical juncture as a state,” said state librarian and project coordinator Stacey Aldrich. “We went from having the lowest unemployment rate in the nation pre-pandemic to one of the highest in 2020.” The lessons from pandemic?  Diversify our economy so we’re less dependent on one industry and promote internet access as a necessity, she said. “We must ensure that there is expanded affordable or free broadband for all, make devices accessible, and build people’s skills so they can adapt as technology changes.”

To “future-proof” our economy, the plan includes the development of a Digital Skills Workforce Hui to implement the five-year plan. The hui would be made up of stakeholders, including the state’s Broadband and Digital Equity Office in partnership with the Hawai‘i State Public Library System, Department of Education and University of Hawai‘i, as well as an array of community partners. The planning was supported by a Workforce Innovation Network Grant from the National Governors Association to address our workforce’s digital skills gap.

A reminder: The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides qualified households up to $30 a month off internet service bills with a $75 discount for households on Hawaiian Home Lands. It’s estimated that more than 100,000 Hawai‘i households could qualify for the program. For more details and participating internet service providers, go to https://broadband.hawaii.gov/acp/.

 

Read more in the September Capitol Connection newsletter.

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