To ensure all families are well-equipped to succeed in the 21st century, efforts to bridge the digtal divide must include not just the three legged-stool of digital inclusion – Internet connectivity, digital literacy, and access to affordable devices but also training and guidance that allows new users to use these tools in a meaningful way. ConnectHome was launched with this very goal in mind – to close the homework gap. Many low-income students can access the Internet in their schools, but once they’re home they either don’t have access or can only access the Internet from a smartphone – which is not very conducive to completing homework assignments. Today, ConnectHomeUSA communities have expanded on this mission, helping residents apply for jobs, obtain health information, participate in civic life while still closing the homework gap for their K-12 residents.
- Choctaw Nation, OK partnered with an assortment of Internet service providers to connect as many people as possible to high-speed Internet in spite of geographic challenges.
- Washington, DC extended Internet services already provided by the city's Office of the Chief Technology Officer under DC-NET. This partnership gives free Wi-Fi connectivity to HUD-assisted residents in targeted units.
- Tampa, FL use the MyOn Reader virtual library to train students and their parents. Classes included employment empowerment, STEM, and Elderly Connection. All trainings also include cybersecurity awareness.
- In Little Rock, AR, the public housing agency, city, Shorter College, Central Arkansas Library, Broadband Development Group, Best Buy, and GitHub partnered to provide digital literacy training to HUD-assisted households.
- Fresno, CA partnered with California State University in Fullerton to provide two communities with digital literacy training. Other training efforts resulted from partnerships with organizations like GitHub, which offered students digital footprint awareness and showed students how to use devices in the workplace.
- The Macon-Bibb County Housing Authority has two one-stop resource centers that offer free computer classes, training programs, and workshops. They partnered with 7000 Men to offer computer literacy classes for adults, and with the Boys & Girls Club of Central Georgia to provide youth classes on STEM, communications skill-building, and coding to children and teens.
- Kansas City, MO partnered with Surplus Exchange and Connecting for Good in the Digital Upcycling Program. Residents may purchase computers for $55, which were donated then refurbished in part by public housing residents in the Digital Scholars program. The city was the first to donate its surplus equipment.
- Memphis, TN partnered with T-Mobile and the Women's Foundation of Memphis to distribute 600 tablets.
PARTNERSHIPS & RECRUITMENT
- Tampa, FL applied the Collective Impact Model to result in partnerships with Hillsborough County Schools, Hillsborough County Public Service Libraries, Tampa Housing Authority Neighborhood Network Center, University of South Florida, Verizon, GitHub, and MyOn Reader.
- Little Rock, AR engaged Resident Counsels during program launch and in the advisory committee. They promote ConnectHome using Section 3 housing residents.