Technology for employability in Washington State

Do information and communication technology skills training programs improve employment opportunities for low-income, older, and unemployed workers? Do they improve worker wage levels or aspirations? * To answer these questions TASCHA researchers surveyed 454 people enrolled in programs provided by workforce-development organizations in Washington State between 2007 and 2008, interviewed NGOs, and conducted a statistical analysis of wage labor data.

Key findings include:

  • Higher ICT skill levels correlated with increased employment outcomes,
  • Trainee employment rates increased from 17 to 58%,
  • Home access to a computer and the Internet (without training or support) had no effect on employment,
  • Wages rose by 20% for trainees compared to pre-training earnings,
  • ICT skill level and frequency of ICT use at work correlated with wage increases,
  • People with intermediate or advanced ICT skills experienced the largest increase in wages,
  • Older workers experienced lower wage increases, and
  • ICT training influences aspirations — even for the unemployed: training is perceived as “important” for employment — and correlates with increased self-confidence.

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