Grants Support Efforts to Boost Digital Literacy in Erie County

HARRISBURG – More than $134,000 in grants were awarded by the Department of Labor and Industry to three Erie County organizations with the goal of connecting Pennsylvania workers with the technology skills they need to succeed in today’s workplaces, according to Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie.

A total of 21 recipients throughout the state were selected for Digital Literacy and Workforce Development Grants, which will help workers develop basic digital skills they need to apply for jobs and excel in new careers.

The Greater Erie Community Action Committee received a $45,000 grant with the focus being on digital fundamentals with job seeking aspects.

The program would include teaching skill sets in typing, utilizing different applications necessary in most fields such as Excel, PowerPoint, email, video conferencing, PDF creation and editing, document organization, scanning and printing documents, and safe internet utilization to seek information, seeking and filling out online applications, resume and cover letter creation and attachment to applications. This would be a two-part course creation with the initial section being digital fundamentals and the second being employment seeking activities.

A $45,000 grant was awarded to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants/Erie Field Office (USCRI) to establish Refugee Connect: Bridging Digital and Cultural Divides with linguistically and culturally competent digital literacy instruction for a minimum of 120 refugees, who have been in the U.S. for fewer than 5 years. The goals of the program are to increase refugee economic self-sufficiency and employability; increase refugee community integration; and increase refugee English language attainment and comprehension.

Lastly, the Corry Higher Education Council received a $44,495 grant to, in collaboration with Penn State Behrend, provide digital fluency training to the community leveraging the fiber optic infrastructure installation from Impact Corry for growth. Impact Corry is a community organization that developed a strategic revitalization plan for the region to transform the area with fiber optic connectivity for homes, businesses and the school district through awarded grants and tax credit donations from regional businesses.

“Digital skills are becoming integral to many jobs, and digital literacy is critical to effectively navigating both the job search process and the workplace,” Sen. Laughlin said. “These grants support our ongoing efforts to improve job training options and prepare those within our communities for 21st Century employment opportunities.”

The digital-literacy grants support the Commonwealth’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Combined State Plan and are 100% federally funded.

Contact:           Dawn Fidler                dfidler@pasen.gov