In the age of digital connectedness, what is keeping Philadelphians from finding jobs?
The answer is quite simple: lack of access to broadband. Not having internet access is becoming a key statistic between haves and have-nots. As most employers are advertising their job openings online, those with internet access have the edge to find work. But, those without it have slimmer chances to find or apply for jobs.
Losing Access in Philly
According to an article by Bob Fernandez of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the city saw a decrease in internet access between 2016 and 2017. Philadelphia was the only large U.S. city to experience a decrease in access, getting the second lowest rate at 71.6%. The average around the US is 83.5% in 2017.
On its website, KEYSPOT also shared its belief that Philadelphia has a massive digital divide. It reported that more than 50% of people making $20,000 or less annually do not have internet service. It also reported that more than 45% of people without high school diplomas don't have internet access and similar percentages of senior citizens don't have access, either.
The Digital Divide Increases Joblessness
Without access to the internet, the unemployed do not learn the digital skills necessary to maneuver through job sites like Monster and Indeed. Job hunters who have built digital literacy are nowadays the desired candidates. And with algorithms pointing out the best candidates, those without the skills remain jobless. This has been a vicious circle that creates more problems for those unemployed.
Fortunately, Philadelphia has a solution: free digital literacy training for those who qualify. All over Philadelphia, various organizations offer free and unrestricted access to the internet. Many of them offer more than just open computers; they also offer training and tutoring programs to help people use the internet to find jobs and get their lives on track for success.
Use Your Library
The Free Library of Philadelphia is one place residents can visit to learn basic digital skills. The workshops are all free and the library supplies the computers. The classes range from learning to navigate through Google Chrome to learning basic email skills. They take place at various branches around town.
The Key to Success
Another convenient place to learn about digital literacy and boost career skills is through the KEYSPOT program. Since 2010, KEYSPOT has been offering free internet access, career training, and resources for adult learners. KEYSPOT locations around Philadelphia have been used over 600,000 times for internet access and career training tools. The KEYSPOT Network offers free internet in more than 50 locations.
Offering Training for More Than 50 Years
Philadelphia OIC is dedicated to helping train disadvantaged, homeless, underemployed, or unemployed people, so they can become self-sufficient. Civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Leon H. Sullivan created this organization in 1964. OIC works with KEYSPOT to offer job training programs.
OIC's computer literacy programs provide basic computer skills like using applications and programs. They also teach internet safety courses and search engine basics, creating a resume in Microsoft Word, as well as finding and applying for a job online. Learn more about the courses here or call 215-236-7700, ext. 348.
Improving Community Health Through Job Training
The Philadelphia FIGHT organization was created to work with people who have HIV or are at risk of developing the disease. But, along with caring for those with HIV, Philadelphia FIGHT also has its own Department of Education and Training.
The educational programs at FIGHT are offered to everyone in the community, not just those who have HIV. FIGHT also specializes in providing holistic support for those who suffer from social inequalities. Many of their training programs are designed to help people with chronic health issues find success in the community and workplace.
Help with Urban Career Training
The Urban League of Philadelphia is another nonprofit organization that provides connections between job seekers and employers. With a Workforce Development and Entrepreneurship Center, the Urban League is dedicated to helping Philadelphians get work. With over 25% of Philadelphia living at or below the poverty level, the organization is working hard to contribute to reducing that number.
To get help from the Urban League, complete the form on their website on the Workforce Development page. The organization also helps with housing as well as youth development.
Settling into a New Job
The Lutheran Settlement House has its own Adult Education and Career Development programs. They offer both group and individual tutoring for anyone who needs it. The free training program includes General Education Development preparation, career-readiness, computer instruction, and basic literacy and math skills. This Adult Education program has been actively training Philadelphians for over 100 years.
Along with the free training programs, the Lutheran Settlement House is also a part of the KEYSPOT program. According to the organization’s website, they offer free internet access along with free tech assistance, printing, and classes during the afternoons Monday through Thursday.
If you're looking for a tech job, check out the offerings at Infinity Consulting Solutions. We have placed many job seekers in their dream jobs in Philadelphia and the surrounding communities. We're dedicated to helping you too to find a job you love!