Oakland Literacy Council is working hard to bridge the “digital divide” in Oakland County, helping adults left behind because they lack technology, internet access, and computer skills.
The Council raised more than $100,000 in 2020 to hire a digital literacy coordinator, provide hardware and software, and deliver computer-skills training to adults in Oakland County. “We know that low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by a lack of digital access,” says Executive Director Lisa Machesky. “By helping adults bridge the digital divide, they can become fully literate, secure higher-paying jobs, and help their children learn.”
As part of this major initiative, adult learners receive laptops and complete the Northstar Digital Literacy curriculum to earn certificates demonstrating their computer proficiency–proof of job skills they can share with potential employers.
“This is something I’m doing to build myself up,” says Ms. Jackson, a Pontiac resident who never had a computer before. Now, she has weekly computer lessons with the digital literacy coordinator and online reading classes with a trained literacy tutor. She says she’s better able to support her children, who are doing online school from home.
Funding for this initiative came from the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Oakland County Library Board, Oakland Together Community Response and Recovery Fund, and the Lula Wilson Trust.