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Too Poor to Afford the Internet… But Still Expected to Be Ready for the “21st Century Workforce”

August 12, 2016

Anthony Marx’ NYTimes op ed article, “Too Poor to Afford the Internet”, implies but never states the obvious: how can children who do not have daily access to the internet be expected to be “ready to work”? Virtually all jobs today— even those at fast food chains and Walmarts— require on-line applications and most retail work today requires some kind of fundamental data entry skill. If someone is unfamiliar with keyboarding skills, how can they possibly complete an online application form? And if a school is serving children who don’t have access to a computer at home, how can they use the on-line programs that are increasingly prevalent in schools today? Finally, how can the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg ever hope to expand their base of sales of technology products or use of Facebook if there is a large group of Americans who cannot afford to buy a computer or acquire on-line services? Maybe the tech titans will realize what Henry Ford did: if you want to sell a product you have to make sure the public is paid enough to buy what you are selling. If they did they math on this, they might find it in their interest to get behind ideas like a $15/hour minimum wage or a guaranteed wage for everyone that enable them to have food. clothing, shelter, and access to the tools needed to land a job.

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