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ITIF report highlights need for digital skills to remain competitive

January 06, 2022

Although it led the global digital revolution, the United States is faltering now when it comes to digital skills possessed by the workforce. That is one of the findings of a recent report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), which goes on to say that such developments bode poorly for long-term U.S. competitiveness if such trends aren’t reversed.

In Assessing the State of Digital Skills in the U.S. Economy, Stephen Ezell, ITIF vice president of global innovation policy, writes that a facility with digital skills becomes more imperative for individuals wishing to make productive, value-adding contributions in their occupations. Moreover, the broader quality of a workforce’s digital skills base is important to the economy as it becomes a key determinant of enterprises’ and industries’ competitiveness and innovation capacity.  Ezell holds that government policies can be important in supporting funding for programs that teach and incentivize investment in digital skills.

In addition to outlining best practices in teaching such skills, Ezell highlights policy recommendations that could help the workforce gain those skills, including teaching computer science in all high schools and allowing it to count toward high school science requirements; doubling the number of STEM charter schools in the U.S.; establishing an incentive program for universities to expand computer science; invest in cultivating AI talent; increase federal investment in workforce training and reskilling programs; and, more.

The full report, which also includes best practices in teaching digital skills to the U.S. workforce in addition to a assessing the overall state of those skills currently in the workforce, is available here.

skills, workforce