Bridging Workers’ Digital Skills Gaps through Libraries

Nearly one in three US workers lack foundational digital skills—with 13% having no digital skills and 18% with very limited skills, according to the National Skills Coalition’s New Landscape of Digital Literacy report released in May 2020. Digital divides have persisted for decades, but COVID threw it into stark, unavoidable relief. By some accounts, the pandemic accelerated ten years of planned technological change in workplaces in less than a year.

New research from PLA finds that 88% of public libraries provide formal or informal digital literacy training, including computer software, social media, and coding, but capacity varies widely. While not all technology training will be tied to employment, this webinar will focus on research and resources related to developing, assessing, and documenting digital skills building for workforce and career development. How can libraries best leverage and add to existing assets to increase access to technology training, connect with employer needs, and better address racial inequities?

During this on-demand webinar—the fourth in the Public Libraries: Partners in Workforce Development series—participants hear from national, state, and local leaders developing strategies and implementing programs to begin closing the digital skills divide, specifically focused on employability outcomes and workforce development.

Originally presented October 21, 2021.

The series is being co-developed by PLA and Libswork, a national networking group on workforce and small business development. Additional webinars in this series to be announced.

Other webinars in this series:

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and share resources for improving patron digital skills no matter their starting point;
  • Help patrons assess and validate digital literacy outcomes to employers;
  • Identify resources and community collaborators to expand reach to diverse communities; and
  • Improve alignment of library digital literacy programs and services to workforce needs.

Additional Resources

Who Should Attend

This on-demand webinar is intended for library and community partner staff formally or informally developing and delivering technology training—or planning to do so—including administrators, digital literacy trainers, workforce and career services staff, state library development staff, and adult services staff.


Stacey AldrichStacey Aldrich has more than twenty years of library experience and is currently the state librarian of Hawaii. Prior to Hawaii, she served as the deputy secretary for the Office of Commonwealth Libraries in Pennsylvania and state librarian of California. Aldrich has also worked in public and academic libraries. In between, she took a detour to work as a senior associate at the futuring think tank of Coates & Jarratt, Inc., where she began to sharpen her futurist thinking skills. She was selected as a Library Journal 2003 Mover and Shaker, and she received a LINK AMERICAS Foundation Knowledge Award for vision and leadership in the area of digital literacy in 2012.

Amanda Bergson-ShilcockAmanda Bergson-Shilcock is a senior fellow at National Skills Coalition, where she leads the organization’s work on adult education and workforce policies to expand opportunities for US-born and immigrant adults. Throughout her career, Bergson-Shilcock has worked with state and federal policymakers and skills advocates to develop policy solutions that address the challenges facing adult learners and jobseekers, including immigrant workers. As a workforce development expert for more than a decade, she has authored numerous publications and policy recommendations—on immigrant integration, workforce development, and adult education—which have helped educate policymakers, journalists, and the public, and inform public policy at the state and federal levels.

Scott KuchinskyScott Kuchinsky is the director of literacy services at the Plainfield (NJ) Public Library, where he oversees the GED, ESL, digital literacy, and general job search/training programs; and serves as liaison to a variety of county, state, and local partners. He holds multiple certificates from the New Jersey Department of Education and is an attorney in good standing in NY and NJ. Kuchinsky was lead instructor for the New Jersey State Library's (NJSL) Literacy Bootcamp programs and is the co-coordinator for the NJSL+ Partners Literacy Hub and Spokes program. He currently chairs the Union County Workforce Development Board Youth Committee. Prior to his employment at Plainfield Public Library, he taught at every level from middle school to college freshmen.

Jen NelsonServing as New Jersey’s state librarian since February 2021, Jen Nelson has worked in and for libraries for over thirty years. Prior to joining the New Jersey State Library she led the Charter Center and State Library Services at the Minnesota Department of Education, working with talented teams of staff to provide high quality services to Minnesotans through charter schools and libraries. At the Minneapolis Public and Hennepin County libraries from 1988 to 2011, Nelson led a variety of projects related to small business development, digital inclusion, electronic resources, and technology programming for teens. She holds masters’ degrees in political science and library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from the State University of New York at Buffalo, is in political science. She is the author of several articles and 21st Century Literacy: Technology Programming for Children and Teens (ALA Editions, 2012).

Ka‘ala SouzaKa‘ala Souza is part historian, part futurist, with a holistic view of the future. He is a member of the team at the Hawaii Workforce Development Council focusing on upskilling the state's workforce to be ready for anything the future brings. He is also a public speaker, corporate trainer, and author of the book, Pono: A Hawaiian-Style Approach to Balance and Well-Being. Souza combines a passion for people and technology and brings a practical approach to achieving a vision of a future Hawaii.



This on-demand webinar is free and available 24/7 for your viewing convenience.

How to Register

No registration is required.

Tech Requirements

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Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, CEUs, or certificates of attendance/completion/participation for its on-demand webinars and cannot verify participation.


If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).