Senator Obama embraces key NDN proposal - computer training through our community college system

Yesterday was a proud day for us here at NDN. Senator Barack Obama included one of NDN’s signature ideas – free computer training for all Americans through our community college system - in his exciting new plan "to strengthen America’s community colleges and make it easier for high school graduates to go on to college and get the skills they’ll need to succeed in the 21st century economy.”

Earlier this year NDN released two papers which called for a new national commitment to help our workers and kids acquire the kind of technology skills required in the much more competitive global economy. At the time we argued:

…the emergence of a single global communications network, composed of Internet, mobile, SMS, cable and satellite technology, rapidly tying the world’s people together, has become one of the seminal events of the early 21st century.

Increasingly, the world’s commerce, finance, communications, media and information are flowing through this network. Half of the world’s 6 billion people are now connected to this network, many through powerful and inexpensive mobile phones. Each year more of the world’s people become connected to the network, its bandwidth increases, and its use becomes more integrated into all that we do.

Connectivity to this network, and the ability to master it once on, has become an essential part of life in the 21st century, and a key to opportunity, success and fulfillment for the people of the world.

We believe it should be a core priority of the United States to ensure that all the world’s people have access to this global network and have the tools to use it for their own life success. There is no way any longer to imagine free societies without the freedom of commerce, expression, and community, which this global network can bring. Bringing this network to all, keeping it free and open and helping people master its use must be one of the highest priorities of those in power in the coming years.

This belief about the centrality of this global network to our lives and those of our workers and kids in the 21st century led us to produce these two papers, which lay out a piece of what can be done – providing a wireless laptop for every American school child, and grants to keep our community college computer labs open 2-3 nights a week for any American to gain free computer training.

We are very proud that Senator Obama has embraced our second idea, and is committed to putting the powerful community college system at the very center of his plan to restore broad-based prosperity in the United States. As he said yesterday:

An ever-expanding American Dream: this is the legacy and the promise of the community college system in America. It's a system based on the principle that we all have a stake in one another's success. Because when we invest in one another's dreams, our communities benefit, our states benefit, and ultimately our entire nation is lifted up.

We, of course, agree.

For more on NDN’s thinking on how to make globalization work for all Americans, visit our Globalization Initiative at To see the first post we made on this, visit our blog.