Congressman Clyburn Stresses Importance of Training for High Tech ‘Jobs of the Future’ and Broadband Access at Recent Town Hall

by Kenneth Mallory on September 18, 2011

At a recent virtual town hall meeting hosted by Politic365.com, U.S. Representative James E. Clyburn, D-South Carolina, stressed the importance of training Americans for high-tech jobs and bringing broadband access to underserved Americans.

“I don’t think we put enough focus on training people for jobs of the future,” said Clyburn.

The Congressman said he worked hard to ensure that $2 billion in Stimulus dollars were dedicated to technical schools and colleges “to make sure we get the kind of training in these areas that is necessary.”

Clyburn, a member of the congressional “Super-Committee” charged with cutting $1.5 trillion dollars out of the national budget by late November, supports dedicating federal dollars to training Americans for careers “in their areas of interest and expertise,” especially in high-tech careers that do not necessarily require a liberal arts education.

“I also want us to make sure that we’re training people for technical jobs, especially those people that are not particularly interested in majoring in history or even some of the STEM programs. I’m all for science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Clyburn, but stated that some people are interested in more technical careers, such as electricians and computer operators and programmers, that don’t require a college degree.

Clyburn said that many technical careers that don’t require a four- year degree afford many Americans the opportunity to make better livings than careers that require a four-year degree.

The Congressman also discussed how critical broadband is to providing jobs and emphasized the importance of getting Americans, and South Carolinians especially, online.

Clyburn said he worked very hard to ensure that Stimulus money was earmarked for broadband access and adoption, and his charge now is to ensure that broadband adoption rates increase.

“It’s one thing to have broadband available,” said Clyburn. “It’s another thing to make adoption take place.”

Clyburn, whose daughter Mignon Clyburn serves as an FCC Commissioner, said he is working with broadband providers and companies to expand broadband adoption.

“I want to see South Carolina come up 100 percent,” he said.

  • Kenneth Mallory is an award-winning journalist and attorney who has free-lanced for several publications, in addition to serving as a general assignment reporter for the Washington Afro-American Newspaper. He earned his B.A. magna cum laude from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in addition to his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.

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  • Akilah H. Walker

    I agree with Representative Clyburn about the need to retrain Americans for available jobs. My roommate and I were watching a special with Fareed Zakarria today about the U.S. Jobs crisis where they mentioned that there are 400,000 unfilled positions in the medical field. They mentioned that the 55 year old construction worker needs to be retrained. I also saw an interview with Eric Schmidt, CEO at Google and he seemed to be saying that the mismatch of American labor with the job market is not a consequence of the U.S. education system. 

    I have to question this emphasis– even if its a small piece of the larger case– on positions that dont require anything more than a high school education. Not sure the case was really made for why thats acceptable at all, considering that having access to education presents greater opportunity for career advancement, in addition to studies that have shown a relationship between political participation and education, higher salaries and education etc. It just seems like no one is concerned about the ecosystem as a whole, suggesting that people don’t gain access to a good education seems like an exception, a lower standard… not sure if Rep. Clyburn is suggesting that people remain uneducated and look for positions that dont require very much. Seems pretty close to the status quo. 

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