a m e r i c a ’ s P l a n c H a P t e r 1 3 Successful entrepreneurial development programs have professional credentials, but 88 million working adults either been built around a small group of high-growth entre- have low literacy skills, limited English proficiency or no post- preneurs, with an emphasis on hands-on mentorship and secondary educational credential.47 strong community support. Today, a few such examples of A changing economy, supported by workers taking on jobs micro-focused programs exist at the state level, including that require more skills, demands better training—training JumpStart in Ohio, KTEC PIPELINE in Kansas, Innovation that evolves in real time to meet shifting workforce needs. Works in Pennsylvania and Innovate Illinois. Based on ini- Broadband-enabled job training and search platforms can scale tial evidence showing the effectiveness of these programs, training to reach the greatest possible number of people and they should be considered models for new entrepreneurial do so at a lower cost and in a more flexible manner. Decades development programs. of research have found that using technology-based instruc- In areas with existing state-level entrepreneurial develop- tion for vocational training reduces the cost of that training by ment programs, the federal government can augment state about a third, while increasing the effectiveness of instruction and non-profit funding to help increase the scale and reach of by a third and using a third less time.48 these programs. This can be done through grants earmarked for Numerous employment assistance solutions targeting various broadband communications tools. Additionally, EDA should demographic groups exist in the public and private sectors. DOL encourage these existing programs to add broadband-centered delivers services through the federally supported workforce de- training courses focused on online marketing and sales, website velopment system that help low-income, low-skilled Americans design and business process applications. find jobs. These Americans face unique barriers—including low Congress should consider funding to create parallel entre- literacy, an absence of digital skills, lack of social networks to preneurial development programs that include broadband tools connect to opportunities and difficulty accessing traditional and training in areas not covered by existing programs. Each training resources due to geography, disability, family responsi- pilot would have a $3 million annual budget—reflective of the bilities and other constraints. These groups traditionally depend annual budget for those programs currently in place—funded almost entirely on government assistance to obtain career guid- roughly one-third each from federal sources, state and local ance, employment information and job training funding. economic development agencies, and private entrepreneurial However, the current workforce development system is support organizations. Ten million dollars in federal funding fragmented49 and relies heavily on bricks-and-mortar facilities for this effort, with equal matching funds from state/local and to deliver services.50 This physical infrastructure makes it dif- private entities would create 10 new support organizations in ficult to adjust to changes in demand, resulting in inconsistent areas where EDA identifies the greatest needs. These new pro- supply, quality and information distribution. DOL-operated grams should have an emphasis on broadband communications One-Stop Career Centers faced heavy demand in the wake of tools and training. Federal funds for the pilot program should the 2008–2009 recession, but served only a fraction of the be granted through a competitive process similar to the U.S. unemployed due to a lack of capacity—in some cases serving Department of Education’s Race to the Top Fund, which will 10% or less of a region’s unemployed.51 The challenge of scaling ensure that communities with innovative approaches, strong the physical infrastructure of the workforce system is particu- community support for entrepreneurial development and the larly critical during a recession with widespread impact. For appropriate tools to achieve success will receive adequate fund- instance, in New York City, according to a July 2009 study, ing for their programs. 26% of low-income Latinos and 18% of low-income African Americans reported losing their jobs due to the recession, 13.2 JoB traInInG meaning this problem is more acute in certain communities.52In addition, skills of One-Stop personnel differ from center and WorKForce services customers receive. Delivering services online throughto center, creating inequity in the types of information and deVeLopMent everyone who has access to the Internet. Additionally, adoptinga scalable platform would expand the reach of One-Stops to content and service standards would ensure every participant Jobs increasingly require new skills. Today, the average worker receives consistent high-quality service. will hold more than 10 different jobs during their prime work- Broadband-enabled solutions also address time, informa- ing years, and the duration of the average job often remains tion and technology barriers faced by disadvantaged Americans short even as workers approach middle age.46 Most new jobs seeking jobs and training. The “anytime, anywhere” nature today require some level of post-secondary education or of an online environment allows people who have daytime 2 7 0 F e d e r a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n s c o m m i s s i o n | w w w . b r o a d b a n d . g o v
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