Bridging the Digital Divide

Ideas2000, a nonpartisan research group, has issued a report outlining the "Digital Divide" problem and suggesting solutions for America's cities.

Read Time: 2 minutes

July 13, 2000, 3:00 AM PDT

By Laura Kraft

Although lower prices for home computers and the emergence of free Internet service providers are enabling greater numbers of people to participate in the information revolution, many Americans at the bottom end of the socioeconomic distribution continue to lag behind in ownership of home computers and Internet access. The digital divide is unlikely to close without positive steps designed to address current disparities and enable all Americans to participate in the information economy. The Internet and advances in digital information technology are creating a new economy with a rapidly growing number of new businesses and new jobs. However, since being able to access and use information technology is becoming increasingly critical for finding a job and achieving economic success, our society may become separated into information "haves" and "have nots" unless measures are taken to ensure that all Americans are equipped to participate in the new digital economy. To close this digital divide, the federal government should initiate a national service program that would provide computer skills training to young people and teachers who are at risk of being left behind in the new economy. A "Tech for America program would enable citizens who are fluent in information technology to devote a year of service to teaching children, teachers, and young adults how to use computers and the Internet effectively. Ideas2000 aims to promote important issues in the contests to select the next president and Congress.

Thanks to Laura Krafft

Wednesday, July 12, 2000 in Ideas2000

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