The Digital Divide in Educating African-American Students and Workers


As Bill Bradley recently observed, “A pair of strong hands are not what they used to be. Now
those hands have to be able to use a keyboard.” In 1997, over half of all workers directly used a
computer keyboard on the job. Workers who use a computer at work are paid more than those
who do not, and are more highly sought after by employers. The Commerce Department’s 1999
report, Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide, highlighted that African-American
workers are less likely than others to have access to information technology at home and at work.
The Commerce Department report did not address the issue of training African-American
students and workers to use computer technology. This paper seeks to fill that void by exploring
the magnitude of the racial divide in the use of computer technology among school children, and
considering the consequences of the digital divide. The key findings are summarized below.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Education and Training for the Black Worker in the 21st Century,
Working Papers