Online access can build social capital and resilience for the connected individual and their community in a number of ways: by providing access to information about local events and resources, facilitating communication among family members living thousands of miles apart, or opening avenues for civic action participation.
In Summer of 2017, Partners Bridging the Digital Divide was created from a collective recognition that as more resources and information became available exclusively online, members of disconnected communities were falling behind. These impacted communities were primarily comprised of low-income families, senior adults, and immigrant families with English language learners.
The Partners Bridging the Digital Divide is an interprofessional collaborative that has knowledge and experience in working with these impacted communities. Each organization within the program has both recognized the urgency of the issue and has witnessed the obstacles it creates firsthand. It is for these reasons that the partnership was created.
In the Spring of 2018, the pilot computer classes were held. The classes had a 90% graduation rate and the participants not only felt more equipped in navigating through online resources, but expressed a budding confidence in their ability to learn on their own. Since then, the collaborative has held regular meetings to remain strategically aligned and better allocate resources.
Basic Computer Skills Class
We offer free 8- week evening courses in Spanish at local schools. We plan to build up self-based learning opportunities so that graduates who would like to increase their knowledge can attend future unstructured computer labs with 1:1 mentoring. Graduates will also be invited to participate as promotores recruiting students in their communities and serving as teaching assistants in later classes.
Students who complete the course will have the opportunity to purchase their device for $60. This is an extremely discounted rate made possible by donation and grants.
Access to Broadband
Our intention is to support every participant with connectivity assistance that may include help with past debt, equipment replacement, or temporary bill pay assistance. It is our hope that an additional benefit of their connectivity is that it may lead to new professional or increased income-earning opportunities to make this a sustainable option.