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Narrowing the Digital Divide Through Literacy Training

Narrowing the Digital Divide Through Literacy Training

In the United States, there are about 50 million people who can’t get online due to their inability to afford broadband internet service. This is especially problematic for student and adults seeking work. According to the national nonprofit EveryoneOn, 70 percent of teachers assign homework online and 90 percent of job seekers must use the internet to apply for new roles. In addition to issues with affordability, many Americans also lack sufficient digital literacy training. Without it, both students and adults will continue to face significant challenges as they navigate the internet.

One way that United Way of Greater Atlanta is contributing to digital literacy efforts is through our Tech Up initiative. Tech Up was created in 2018 in partnership with the Young Professional Leaders group to assist students in underprivileged communities with understanding the fundamentals of using a computer, safety protocols and how it can be used for everyday functions. Tech Up’s curriculum, taught by volunteers, provides the basic understanding of essential computer hardware, software, and utilization.

This past August, I had the privilege of volunteering at a Tech Up training session at the Hearts to Nourish Hope community center in Riverdale, GA. There were a number of families in attendance, but I spent most of my time with an 8th grader named Princess. She was so excited about the new laptop she received as the result of the generosity of our United Way partners. I spent the morning teaching Princess how to configure her new laptop, research various topics using online search engines, improve her typing skills with online drills, and how to format documents in Microsoft Word. Learning these essential functions will certainly increase the likelihood that Princess has a successful school year.

Tech Up hosts training sessions the first Saturday of each month. If you are interested in leading or assisting with a session, you can register here.

Ebonee Younger is a Product Manager at Cox Communications and a member of
United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Young Professional Leaders.

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