Research

What we found

With the competitive nature of computer literacy in the workplace, it is becoming a staple for workforces to have their employees be proficient or have a certain grasp of how to use technology. With millions of people still lacking Internet access, let alone a computer at home, people still struggle to cope with the ever-changing digital era of the workforce as well as schools for students (Smith). When 30 people ranging from ages 16-78 were asked whether they have a computer, 88% noted that they had a computer. The same cannot be said in places such as Indiana (Table 1).

The Indiana Youth Institute found that 7.5 percent of children under the age of 18 don’t have a home computer and 12.2 percent that have a home computer didn’t have any Internet access. The research group also said that the lack of technology access can result in a lower academic performance and difficulty in future careers. Research has shown that when children aren’t immersed in technology early on they may not have the fundamental skills required for college and their career. Glenn Augustine, of the Indiana Youth Institute, supported this idea by saying “just not having that access to technology can set a child back in learning a little bit compared to their peers who do have access to technology” (Smith).

The lack of income in a family can be detrimental to children in several ways. One way is that children may not have access, or enough understanding of how to use new technologies and computers to survive in the workforce or in upper level education. High-income families spend seven times as much on enrichment resources (laptops, private schools, ext.) than low-income families. As shown in the report of The Status of Working in Indiana, “educational inequalities introduced to these children at the starting line will confront them for a lifetime” (“The Status of Working” 10). Another problem with the poverty in Indiana is that teachers are being laid off at high rates which means that there is fewer people to teach students how to use technology. The INCAA found that “87.8% of public-sector jobs lost during the recession and recovery were local government jobs,” and of that 87.8%, 47% were local education jobs (“The Status of Working” 7).

In the world we live in today, it is becoming increasingly difficult for inept computer users to sustain their job. Basic computer skills are simply not enough in the modern workforce. In today's workforce there is a digital divide that separates novices and experts. Older people face the difficulty of competing against younger, more adept computer users in the workforce. According to an article by NBC News, there is a growing link to quantifying the impact of computer literacy on employment. With a fifth of the American population not having internet access at home, it is evident that to some individuals the first obstacles are not how to use the software, but to figure out how to use a keyboard and mouse. With job applications moving towards a more digital age where you apply online, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people who lack computers in their homes to apply for a job (Johnson).

With computer sciences driving job growth as well innovation throughout economy and society, STEM jobs are becoming a great source of wages in the US. In fact, according to a report conducted by Code, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting computer science programs, 71% of new STEM jobs are in computing (“Support K-12”). There are approximately 4,369 open computing jobs which is three times the average demand rate for Indiana. With the average salary for these jobs of $72,743 in Indiana compared to the average salary of $42,070 in the US, the wages are significantly higher.

Based on those facts it is very desirable to be in the field of computing today. Proper means for preparing Indiana students for these jobs is computer science education. Every school should have computer science offerings and no student should be unnecessarily left in the dark in the field of computer science in a technological age. Indiana does not currently provide many opportunities for students to engage in STEM classes.

What this means

From this research we have found that having access to computers and the knowledge on how to use them is critical to the success of our youth. Indiana must provide proper access to computers for all people but especially the youth and people in rural communities. Based on this research, we have come up with a solution with three proposals.

Works Cited

Figures Used

Table 1: Survey of Family and Friends Regarding Technology

JobAgeWhat kind of computer do you want?Number of smart devices?Do you own a computer/laptop?Where do you usually use computer
Student18Desktop7YesHome
Student18Laptop7NoHome
Student18Laptop3NoHome
Student19Laptop3YesLibrary
Student20Laptop3YesLibrary
Student19Laptop2YesLibrary
Student19Laptop2NoHome
Student19Laptop3YesHome
Student19Laptop2YesLibrary
Student20Laptop3YesHome
Student19Laptop4YesLibrary
Cheif Financial Officer53Laptop2YesHome
Homemaker47Laptop12NoHome
Student19Laptop2NoHome
Painter48Desktop1YesHome
Student16Desktop2YesHome
Student13Laptop2YesSchool
Photographer43Laptop5esoHome
Editor36Desktop3YesOffice
Journalist31Laptop3YesOffice
Teacher49Desktop3YesOffice
Student17Laptop2NoSchool
Policeman33Desktop3YesHome
Policeman35Desktop3YesHome
Student18Laptop7NoHome
Student17Laptop2NoSchool
Lawyer63Desktop5YesOffice
Retired78Desktop2YesLibrary
Retired70Laptop0NoLibrary
Teacher56Laptop2YesOffice