Man covers his face with a cell phone, image to illustrate digital literacy campaign.
One more step towards digital inclusion. Photo: Pixabay.

More than $1 million allocated to help workers develop digital skills

They seek to open the doors to stable jobs and better economic opportunities.


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Citizens Charitable Foundation recently awarded a $1,25 million grant to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to advance digital inclusion in historically diverse communities, helping residents develop the skills they need to compete for higher-profile jobs. 

Bruce Van Saun, chairman and CEO of Citizens Financial Group, stated:

Citizens is committed to helping our communities thrive, and equitable access to digital literacy is key to economic vitality.

About Financing

Focusing on 8 LISC Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) partners, the invested resources will launch and expand digital services that prepare people for growth industries, including the field of information technology.

LISC's FOCs are community-based programs that integrate services related to job training and placement, career and financial guidance, as well as comprehensive social supports, such as childcare, housing, and transportation, so that individuals can achieve a long-term financial stability.

“We are proud to work with LISC to ensure that people in historically marginalized communities are able to build the skills they need to compete for jobs now and in the future,” added Van Saun.

Closing the Digital Divide

Building on a bank-supported pilot program that tested approaches to closing the digital skills gap, the grant supports one-on-one training, digital literacy workshops, ongoing digital training, and job training for the field of information technology.

“Basic digital skills and access to technology and the internet are essential to participate in society and the economy,” pointed out Katrin Sirje Kärk, LISC’s director of workforce innovations.

Highlighting how FOC's services are delivered by experienced community-based nonprofit organizations in more than 120 locations, serving 25,000 people each year, digital training is tailored to local employment and economic conditions, with a particular focus on people and communities where job loss, discrimination and lack of investment have limited opportunities.

Also, considering that more than 83% of FOC clients are people of color and 60% are women, among the variety of FOC programs available is 'Bridges to Career Opportunities', which it focuses on foundational skills like math and reading, as well as technical training, so they can access higher-paying jobs and build a more stable financial future.

The new digital inclusion grant is part of the bank's broad workforce development efforts to address critical economic needs, create stronger communities, and build a culture of inclusion, including investments in small businesses and nonprofits led by minorities, as well as associations that bridge the digital divide.

With an investment of $4 million in funds since 2018 Citizens has supported LISC and FOC.

“Advancing digital equity is a key LISC strategy for closing racial wealth gaps, and this grant from Citizens will help us embed digital skills training as a core component of the FOC experience, helping people build a strong career pathway for the future,” concluded Sirje Kärk.


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