The State Workforce Development Board (SWDB) awarded Epworth a $100,000 grant to serve foster youth by providing digital literacy skills development that leads to job skills and credentials. IT-oLogy will develop and deliver two programs for Epworth’s initiative: a series of workshops for their high school and older students that focuses on basic digital and technology competencies, and a program of certification courses that will be available to selected Epworth students to prepare them for the job market. Epworth will also integrate soft skills training through their program by including a formal career services program for their youth.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center indicated that roughly 1 in 10 adults said they would have difficulty finding programs and services online, contacting potential employers via email, filling out a job application online, finding available jobs online, and using computers to create a resume. And the Colorado State Library reported that people who used the internet to search for work reduced an individual’s average time unemployed by 25 percent.
“We are excited about the work these three organizations across our state will do to help close the digital skills gap and help put provide people with new job opportunities,” said Pat Michaels, the board’s Governance Committee chairman.
“While South Carolina’s businesses are hiring and have put a record number of people to work across the state, we have more work to do to prepare those unemployed for today’s workforce. These grants will do help develop programs to improve the computer literacy skills for those in need so they can participate in today’s changing workplace,” said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce and a SWDB board member.
In total, $225,070 in grants were awarded to three organizations for the development of programs to improve digital literacy in jobseekers and to help close the digital skills gap. Other programs receiving funding are:
Greenville County Schools Lifelong Learning – Greenville – $25,070: Lifelong Learning will use the grant to incorporate a digital literacy program as a prerequisite for the Job Readiness classes currently offered at Greenville’s SC Vocational Rehabilitation office.
Medical University of South Carolina – Project Rex – $100,000: Project Rex will use the grant to develop an innovative approach to building digital literacy skills and job readiness training through the Autism News NetWORK, an online, news media style series of videos that participants will produce, featuring interviews of fellow participants discussing their experiences living with autism.