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Shapiro Administration Announces Grant Funding to Enhance Digital-Literacy Programs, Helping Workers to Navigate Job Search Process


Contact: Trevor Monk,

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) has awarded more than $685,000 to support programs in every region of the Commonwealth that help job seekers improve their digital-literacy skills so they can be successful in finding, obtaining, and maintaining employment. This is the fourth installment of funding awarded through the Digital Literacy and Workforce Development (DLWDG) grant program.

"Pennsylvanians cannot obtain meaningful jobs if they do not have fundamental digital-literacy skills to carry out the tasks necessary to be successful in our workforce," said L&I Secretary Nancy A. Walker. "This grant funding will prepare Pennsylvanians with career-ready skills and knowledge, while helping ensure equitable access to employment in emerging industries and high-demand occupations across the Commonwealth."

L&I's digital-literacy grants program provides funding to organizations in local communities that teach residents how to effectively navigate platforms used in the job search process and the workplace, including digital fundamentals, digital citizenship, and understanding digital information – especially in communities lacking access to broadband infrastructure and high-speed internet.

The following programs, in coordination with local workforce development boards and in partnership with local employers and community organizations, will receive grant funding through July 2024. Most programs will receive grants of $45,000.

Project HOME (Philadelphia) 
The Practical Skills Computer Workshop program is designed to prepare individuals looking for employment by offering digital-literacy skills training that meets the demands of an evolving job market. It will also equip participants with procedural knowledge to seek employment, earn a living wage, and have the opportunity for advancement and pay increases.

Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Agency Coalition (SEAMAAC) (Philadelphia) 
SEAMAAC's Digital Literacy & Access Project will continue to provide digital-literacy classes to low-income immigrants and refugees in need of beginner-level English skills and digital-literacy skills for employment. The grant will support these individuals with digital-access resources, such as free and/or low-cost digital devices, hot-spots, and internet services to support their employment goals.
Montgomery County Workforce Development Board (Montgomery County) 
The project will continue expanding digital literacy to Montgomery County residents in partnership with Full Circle Computing, which has implemented a similar program successfully in Chester County. Full Circle will provide digital-literacy training for Montgomery County's most affected populations with a focus on those seeking employment in areas of greatest need.

William Jeanes Memorial Library (Montgomery County) 
The library will continue implementing a technology curriculum of classes that introduce foundational technologies using newly purchased laptop computers and updated A/V equipment. This training includes computer basics and online digital literacy taught by masters-level reference librarians and a contractor with experience in technology tutoring and implementation.
The Literacy Center (Lehigh, Northampton counties) 
The Literacy Center (TLC) will deliver digital-literacy instruction to 300 Lehigh Valley adults, including the unemployed and under-employed, individuals without a high school diploma, and English language learners. TLC will leverage existing relationships within these communities and referrals from community organizations to recruit participants in the program.
Computer Reach (Allegheny County) 
For 20 years, Computer Reach has worked to get free or low-cost technology into the hands of those who need it. This grant will expand the digital-literacy curriculum and offerings, add modules for job seekers as well as more advanced software skills, and include digital citizenship for professionals to serve 75 job seekers in Allegheny County.

Delmont Public Library (Westmoreland County) 
The public libraries will collaborate to teach children and youth about digital literacy with an emphasis on high-demand STEM careers of the future. Staff will develop and offer in-house, virtual, and outreach Tech Time programs and will cover Power Library resources, selected apps related to e-Material and workforce development and talks from local industry and education partners. Delmont Public Library will also bring awareness to the local community about careers in STEM through selected simulation apps such as aviation maintenance, robotics, and basic electricity.
The Neighborhood Academy (Allegheny County) 
The Neighborhood Academy, a non-profit school serving students from the Pittsburgh region, will offer digital-literacy and career-readiness services to 80 high school students. The program will coach students in social responsibility, help students develop a stronger understanding of the risks and dangers of the digital world, and provide career exposure and access across the Pittsburgh region.
Ephrata Public Library (Lancaster County) 
The Ephrata Public Library plans to expand class offerings to include more advanced training in Microsoft Excel, graphic design, and a class that addresses recent developments in generative AI. Library staff will continue to provide 15 hours of supervised computer lab time weekly for practice, remediation and enrichment. High-interest classes will be offered twice, at different times of the day, to accommodate employed patrons. Likewise, computer lab hours will be offered during the morning, afternoon and evening.
York County Literacy Council (York County) 
York County Literacy Council (YCLC) will assist adults in their pursuit to be digitally literate. In today's digital world, nearly every career requires digital communication at some point. Students will learn how to find and consume digital content. They will learn how to create, communicate and share digital content, as well as learn the basics of internet safety.

Greater Erie Community Action Committee (Erie County) 
The project will support workers with education on digital fundamentals and job-seeking support. The program will offer lessons on typing, Excel, PowerPoint, email, video conferencing, PDF creation and editing, document organization, scanning and printing documents, safe internet use, seeking and filling out online applications, resume and cover letter creation and attachment to applications.

Rebecca M. Arthurs Library (Clarion, Jefferson, Venango counties) 
The libraries will use the funding to purchase mobile technology, including laptops and iPads, for larger trainings and to hire staff to teach individuals how to use the digital resources on a weekly basis. By using experienced personnel, the libraries will expand existing job programs and trainings, giving the unemployed or underemployed marketable technology skills.

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants/Erie Field Office (Erie County) 
The project will provide linguistically and culturally competent digital-literacy instruction for a minimum of 120 refugees who have been in the U.S. for fewer than five years. The program will include formal instruction and open lab time, with four curriculum units of specific benefit to newly arrived refugees.

West Central Workforce Development Board (Lawrence, Mercer counties) 
The project will support eight-week, in-person cohorts with the goal of working intensively with at least 40 individuals with low levels of digital literacy to improve their technology skills, especially in the area of career-search skills. The project aims to help individuals earn certificates for digital-literacy competencies.
Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board (Lackawanna County) 
The Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board, in collaboration with Marywood University and the PA CareerLink® Lackawanna County, will develop a series of instructor-led cohorts that address the central need for job seekers to possess comprehensive computer-literacy skills to acquire family-sustaining employment in today's job market.

Workforce Wayne, Inc. (Pike, Wayne counties) 
The digital divide in the region is real, with internet access cost-prohibitive for lower-income families. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated an even greater need for digital-literacy training. The grant will support efforts to help community members learn how to use technology.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, please visit the website or follow L&I on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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