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Senators Collins, Kaine Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Close the Digital Skills Gap

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Tim Kaine (D-VA), both members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, introduced the Investing in Digital Skills Act, bipartisan legislation that to better equip adult education programs with the resources needed to prepare individuals for the evolving demands of the digital economy, enhancing their employability and skill sets in a technologically advanced job market.

“Whether someone is attempting to supplement their current skill set or train for a new career path, digital literacy is essential,” said Senator Collins. “This bipartisan bill would help bridge the digital skills gap, ensuring more Americans have access to the training they need to succeed in today’s job market.”

“Digital skills are a foundational part of workforce development. For many workers, these skills are a key pathway to good-paying jobs in in-demand industries,” said Senator Kaine. “But many workers—especially workers of color—haven’t had the opportunity to build them. I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan legislation, which will create funding for adult education and training programs in digital workforce skills to promote digital equity and prepare America’s workers for the future.”

In recent research conducted in partnership between National Skills Coalition and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, experts found that 92 percent of jobs require digital skills, yet over 30 percent of workers lack even foundational digital skills. The research found huge financial incentives for this upskilling, finding that jobs that require at least one digital skill earns 23 percent more than a job requiring none.

Specifically, the Investing in Digital Skills Act would:

  1. Amend Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which focuses on Adult Education and Family Literacy, to include training on digital skills and information literacy.
  1. Define “information literacy” in WIOA using a training definition from the National Security Act.
  1. Define “digital skills” in WIOA using a definition from the Museum and Library Services Act.

WIOA Title II seeks to ensure that state and local service providers offer adult education and skills development programs that accelerate achievement of diplomas and credentials among American workers. Title II funds can be used for activities assisting eligible adults with obtaining postsecondary education, training, or employment. This bill would add to the permissible use of funds under Title II of WIOA, training in digital skills and information literacy.

The complete text of the bill can be read here.