The New York State (NYS) Department of Labor (DoL) has launched a new, free digital literacy program to help job seekers gain the skills they need to be more marketable to employers.

The program – available through a partnership with Northstar Digital Literacy – will assess job seekers’ computer skills and help them build knowledge in areas sought after by businesses.

“New York is leading the way in expanding digital literacy to help our state’s talented workforce secure the jobs of tomorrow,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “This new initiative will be a transformative addition to our workforce development efforts, giving all New Yorkers access to the tools necessary to unlock a better future for themselves and their families.”

According to a 2022 NYS DoL survey, 44 percent of responding businesses said basic computer use and computer literacy were common skills lacking among job applicants and new employees. Other common issues included a lack of basic email proficiency and Excel skills.

In the survey, businesses listed the following as some of the most sought-after technical skills:

  • Software proficiency in Excel;
  • Email;
  • Software proficiency in Word;
  • Data analysis; and
  • Typing.

“As New York State looks to attract businesses to increase economic opportunities, we must ensure New Yorkers are well aligned with the needs of businesses. Our partnership with Northstar Digital Literacy will help our workforce gain the computer competence they need to keep up with the rapid changes of the digital global market,” said NYS DoL Commissioner Roberta Reardon.

The program and partnership furthered NYS DoL’s commitment to helping New Yorkers gain the skills they need to excel in the job search and workplace. In addition to the program, the NYS DoL offers a variety of career development services online and in-person, including access to more than 4,000 programs through Coursera.

New Yorkers interested in the new program should contact their local NYS DoL Career Center to sign up for Northstar’s no-cost digital program.

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