Today’s Solutions: November 26, 2022

The pandemic forced us all to adapt to a new way of living—and working—and those who were able to adjust generally had a smoother past couple of years. Professionally, those who were able to work from home were more likely to stay employed, however, working from home requires honing digital skills and being computer literate in a technological world that is constantly changing, progressing, and in flux.

According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, those who were less educated in these areas and therefore less able to adapt were more likely to be adversely affected. This research shed some light on how especially difficult it is for low-income workers aged 50 and up to keep their digital skills current.

Separate research from the Urban Institute found that the capability of older workers to earn more and compete for jobs is hinged on their digital skills. In recognition of this reality, the AARP Foundation and Google’s philanthropy arm, Google.org, are teaming up to offer technology and digital skills training to this demographic.

The initiative, which is set to commence in eight states (Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas) in the next couple of years, will target 25,000 people and will focus on women and people of color.

The training programs aim to help participants find jobs, change careers, or start a new professional adventure as an entrepreneur. They will also help older adults improve their economic security and social connections and will cover topics like how to use video conferencing, information security, office productivity software, and online job and networking tools. For those who want to become entrepreneurs, there will be workshops focused on social media marketing, crowdfunding, mobile payment services, and graphic design.

To measure the program’s success the AARP Foundation will analyze the results of the training sessions and workshops based on how well it helped participants boost their incomes and improve employment prospects. Based on these findings, the organizations will begin planning how to implement similar programs throughout the nation.

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