Legislation Including NDN Proposal to Upgrade Worker IT Skills Passes House


Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. Included in the legislation were provisions proposed in H.R. 2060, The Community College Technology Access Act, which would offer free computer training to all Americans through the nation’s community colleges. Sponsored by House Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson, H.R. 2060 was based on a 2007 NDN paper by Globalization Initiative Chair Dr. Robert Shapiro entitled Tapping the Resources of America's Community Colleges. These provisions are designed to increase worker skills in a 21st century economy in which facility with and connectivity to the global communications network are prerequisite for success. A companion bill, S. 1614, has been sponsored by Senator Chuck Schumer.

"Community Colleges reach every corner of this country with over 1100 in urban, rural and suburban settings." Larson said. "The legislation we passed today takes a bold step to expand the mission of our community colleges – making them a hub for training our workforce by opening their doors to provide the public with the basic computer training skills our workers need to succeed in a modern economy. I would particularly like to thank NDN and Dr. Robert Shapiro, for their hard work and advocacy on this issue as well as Chairman George Miller for including our language in his legislation."

"I salute the House of Representatives and especially Chairman John Larson for passing legislation that taps the resources and technology of community colleges to provide America's workers with the information-technology skills they'll need to succeed in a very competitive U.S. and global marketplace, particularly during tough times," Shapiro said. "Tens of millions of Americans entered our workforce before computers and the Internet became so ubiquitous. Many of them now are in what should be their most productive and highest-earning years. As non-wired jobs become increasingly rare, Americans without solid IT skills will find themselves economically marginalized. This legislation will help millions more American workers thrive in our idea-based economy."