Joint Center Report 2013: African Americans, Jobs and the Internet
The Internet is quickly becoming the indispensable tool for millions of Americans seeking a better job - or any job.
Following up on my initial blog post yesterday morning, that's the inescapable conclusion of a new report the Joint Center published this week about the Internet and employment. This jobs-Internet connection was also the focus of this morning's Joint Center panel discussion featuring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and the Joint Center's John Horrigan, who analyzed the survey data and authored the report.
As Commissioner Clyburn said at the outset of her remarks, broadband access, which is the enabler of new technologies, is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity. Commenting on the survey's conclusions, she also emphasized the FCC's role in promoting more - and more affordable - broadband access.
Dr. Horrigan discussed the report's findings at length, relating it to other data concerning broadband adoption and use. As he noted, African-Americans in particular seem to be interested in more than just search engines. They are increasingly using social networking to expand their network of job contacts and improve the probability of finding out about job opportunities.
The Joint Center's report is based on a survey of 1,600 Americans concerning their use of wired and mobile broadband, particularly in researching employment opportunities. Among the survey's most important conclusions: African Americans are more likely than other segments of the population to use the Internet to seek and apply for employment. They are more likely to consider the Internet "very important" to the success of their job search.
Also speaking at yesterday's panel discussion were Chanelle Hardy from the National Urban League, AT&T's Ramona Carlow, Zack Leverenz, CEO of Connect2Compete, and Jason Llorenz of the Latino Information Network at Rutgers University.
Overall, this was a great event and the Joint Center is extremely proud of Dr. Horrigan's report and the important issues it raises. As he said toward the end of the session: digital skills are important, so investing in digital skills can help expand opportunity for all- and for African-Americans in particular.
It is important that government and industry continue to work with communities across the country to support digital literacy programs and that that commitment go hand-in-hand with public and private sector investment in high-speed broadband to every corner of America.
Leroy Jones, Jr.