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American Workers' Digital Skills: What the data tells us

View a recording of the webinar here.

Download the slides from the webinar here.

National Skills Coalition is also providing links to resources that were shared in the chat box during the webinar:

  • NSC’s full-length report with more detail on the data presented in this webinar: The New Landscape of Digital Literacy
  • NSC’s fact sheet Applying a Racial Equity Lens to Digital Literacy provides additional detail on racial equity gaps and potential remedies.
  • NSC’s five industry-specific 2-page fact sheets on digital skills. (Construction; Hospitality; Health and Social Work; Manufacturing; Retail.)
  • Regarding state-level PIAAC data: Unfortunately digital literacy data is not available by state. However, advocates have two possible solutions to this challenge: 1) There IS state-level data for traditional literacy gaps, which are closely correlated with digital skill gaps. 2) States can also contract with the Institute of Education Sciences at the US Department of Education to collect new PIAAC digital skills data for their state. It would cost approximately $2.7 million per state, and states would need to signal their interest by May 2021. For more information, contact piaac@air.org.
  • Regarding the overlap of digital skill gaps with occupations that are at risk of automation: A link to the Brookings Institution Digitalization and the American Workforce report and the Joint Center report The Impact of Automation on Black Jobs.
  • For those who asked about updated PIAAC survey results, a link to more recent US PIAAC survey results (from 2017). Note that NSC’s report focuses specifically on currently-employed workers ages 16-64, which is a subset of the American adults ages 16-74 who were surveyed in the full PIAAC dataset.
  • Finally, a link to the PIAAC digital literacy report showing international comparisons between US adults and those in other countries.


Join National Skills Coalition and American Institutes for Research for our webinar on June 3rd. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, American workers were facing new digital demands. Now, as workers and businesses scramble to adapt to a rapidly changing economic environment, digital skills have become a threshold competency. Home health aides use tablet computers to track patient information; grocery store workers use customized mobile apps; and manufacturing workers use augmented reality tools. But what do we really know about workers' digital skill abilities and gaps? In this webinar:

• Hear a detailed perspective on US workers' digital skills pre-pandemic, including breakouts by industry and demographic category.

• Find out what data from a rigorous nationwide assessment tells us about the new landscape of digital skills -- and how the pandemic may change this landscape in the months ahead.

• Wear your data hat and get ready for some pie charts!

• Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, National Skills Coalition
• Dr. Jasmine Park, American Institutes for Research