You can’t measure the value of someone having your back. Whether you’re trying something new or entering an unfamiliar arena, having someone there to guide you can make a world of difference. This is especially true for the millions of Americans who struggle to navigate the internet.
We’re committed to helping individuals build digital literacy skills, so they’re confident online and empowered to pilot the internet. Through our efforts, we’ve found there’s no better way than working with local organizations that know their communities best.
Community organizations act as our guide to bring innovative solutions to those who will benefit most. Whether we’re building broadband infrastructure or helping ensure people have the skills they need to use it—working together, works best.
In February, we provided a glimpse of our digital literacy efforts, and we’re proud to share an update on how that work is connecting more Americans to greater possibility.
In our communities
Libraries and community centers are critical public spaces for all communities – providing individuals with free access to resources they need to learn and grow. To further that growth, we’ve worked with the Public Library Association (PLA), Digitunity and Connected Nation to bring over 1,500 free bilingual, in-person digital literacy workshops to these spaces across the country in 2023.
These trainings aim to meet people where they are, offering tailored support depending on each individual’s needs. For example, cybersecurity training is available for those who want to learn more about staying safe online. Or, for families who want to stay connected with loved ones using videoconferencing, training on the basics of tablets can help.
One of these workshops took place at the Escanaba Public Library in Michigan where participants learned email, computer and internet basics.
To extend the reach of these courses, we launched our Digital Navigators Program earlier this spring. Teaming up with non-profits across the country, the program trains community members to become experts on teaching their neighbors how to use devices, search the web, find job opportunities and more.
Here’s how these efforts are enabling communities to experience the benefits of the internet.
Working with the Community Family Centers – a Houston organization providing social and education services to low-income families – we’ve facilitated free Spanish-language digital literacy workshops.
The workshops started by offering skills-based training and grew when families expressed interest in learning how to keep their families safe while navigating the internet. Our volunteers pivoted the training to include relevant information about online safety and cybersecurity safety.
New York City
We’re collaborating with the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) Youth Tech Corps to help bring technology projects to NYCHA developments throughout the five boroughs. The yearlong pilot program is free for participants and will host three 10-week long cohorts – helping students gain valuable technology, leadership, communication and client service skills.
- AT&T is providing financial support for the program through a $50,000 contribution, and participants in each cohort were also given free laptops and digital devices.
Did you know? These skillsets will help participants prepare for jobs in STEM – which is increasingly important as the number of STEM occupations is projected to grow by almost 11% by 2031.1
Cleveland & Los Angeles
Having a place to focus, access resources and learn from others are vital components to developing as a learner. Through our AT&T Connected Learning Centers, students and families have just that – free access to high-speed internet, computers, tutoring and digital skills training.
In Cleveland, Ohio, 5th grader Aaron Henderson has grown into an exemplary student attending after-school trainings at our AT&T Connected Learning Center within the Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center (ASC3).
- Not only was he able to develop his studying habits and digital skills, but he is now leading his own tutoring sessions to assist his classmates.
The opportunity to grow at our centers also extends to entire families. In addition to providing support for students, parents and adults are able to take advantage of skills-based trainings to set them up for future success.
- In Los Angeles, our AT&T Connected Learning Center within the Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF) is providing similar workshops focused on gaining digital skills and confidence.
The bottom line
The benefits of the internet can only be fully realized if individuals know how to use it and have the confidence to choose so. We know it’s critical to ensure everyone has that opportunity – and digital literacy is an important piece of the puzzle.
Through these workshops, students, families and adults can learn the necessary skills to make the most of their internet experience – whether that means searching through job sites, taking classes online, meeting with a doctor or sending an email to a family member.
Working together and with the help of local community organizations, we’ve got your back.
1 Employment in STEM occupations | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (September 2022)