Connected Nation Business Assessment Reveals Significant Education and Skills Gap in Workforce

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One in five businesses find it ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ to find employees with needed skills

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In order to boost economic development, communities need to account for the technology assets available to businesses as well as the education of the workforce to help grow employment

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Today, Connected Nation announced findings from its 2014 business technology assessments revealing a significant gap between workers’ current technical abilities and the skills that employers are seeking. The survey reveals that demand is high among businesses, not just in the tech sector, for employees with the education and skills to handle technology:

  •     One in seven businesses say it is important for new employees to be able to create or edit a mobile app
  •     More than one in eight say it is important for new employees to know at least one programming language
  •     Nearly half of US businesses (47%) say they spend their own time and resources training new employees on the software that their business uses

These gaps have an impact on the American economy, as 80% of businesses report utilizing broadband (up from 72% in 2010) and online sales generated $2.3 trillion in revenues for US businesses last year.

“Connected Nation sees a growing trend in business sophistication, along with an increased demand for workers who have the necessary skills to conduct operations in an online world,” said Tom Ferree, president and COO of Connected Nation. “In order to boost economic development, communities need to account for the technology assets available to businesses as well as the education of the workforce to help grow employment.”

Connected Nation conducted surveys with businesses in multiple states across the nation. Tennessee, one of Connected Nation’s longest state partnerships, has seen a significant increase in broadband adoption within its business community.

“This survey substantiates what we have all believed – when economic development agencies like ours are selling Tennessee to businesses for relocation or start-up, broadband access is now as important as infrastructure needs such as power and roads,” said Mike Edwards, president & CEO of the Knoxville Chamber Partnership.

Among the programs driving tech-readiness at the local level is Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program, which is helping communities develop technology action plans to bridge the digital gaps. The program has produced 25 certified Connected communities across the country, with 151 more communities currently working toward certification. One of the interventions available to communities is Connected Nation’s Digital Works program, which provides mentoring and training to match job seekers with national companies looking for tech-savvy workers.

To learn more, view the survey methodology.

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About Connected Nation: Connected Nation is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed Internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Americans. Connected Nation effectively raises the awareness of the value of broadband and related technologies by developing coalitions of influencers and enablers for improving technology access, adoption, and use. Connected Nation works with consumers, community leaders, states, and technology providers and foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: http://www.connectednation.org/.

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Jessica Ditto
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