To build back better, the U.S. needs a digital service corps | The TechTank Podcast

adult education: mature students working in a computer laboratory

This podcast is part of a three-part series on the various parts of a Tech New Deal, a proposal to center technology as part of our economic recovery efforts that includes infrastructure, workforce development, local investments in adoption and use, and national service.

In the 1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps to employ millions of young people in restoring the country’s parks, and worked towards economic recovery in rebuilding roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure. Now, broadband infrastructure are the new roads in our nation, and the services that run along the network are the new fuel for economic and social opportunities.

How do we establish programs that improve upon the tech pipeline, while at the same time, ensuring that we have enough workers to nourish and grow our burgeoning broadband networks and services?

Further, how do we ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate to make national service an overarching bridge builder as we make our way out of this pandemic and the more prominent racial divides that we are currently experiencing?

In this episode of TechTank, Nicol Turner Lee speaks with Amanda Renteria, President and CEO of Code for America, and Nick Sinai, venture capitalist and former Deputy Chief Technology Officer under President Obama, about a digital service corps.

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TechTank is a biweekly podcast from Lawfare and The Brookings Institution exploring the most consequential technology issues of our time. From racial bias in algorithms to the future of work, TechTank takes big ideas and makes them accessible. In a series of roundtable discussions and interviews with technology experts and policymakers, moderators Dr. Nicol Turner Lee and Darrell West unpack tech policy debates and highlight new data, ideas, and policy solutions. Future episodes will explore the role of technology in election interference, disinformation campaigns, school reopening and broadband access, the digital divide and more. Sign up to receive the TechTank newsletter for more research and analysis from the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings.