Digital Equity Program
In 2012, the City developed a Digital Equity pilot program with Build Wealth Minnesota to bridge the digital divide and address the racial employment gap in Minneapolis. Partners also included: PCs for People, USI Wireless, University of Minnesota-Broadband Access Project, and the Minnesota WorkForce Centers in Minneapolis.
Pilot Program Outcomes and Successes
The detailed results of the Digital Equity pilot program with Build Wealth Minnesota are available in the final report.
Summary of Outcomes
The success measures for the program focused on employment, financial literacy, digital literacy and maintaining Internet access at home. Feedback was gathered from the participants in October 2012 (12 weeks after the program started) and in August, 2013 at the end of the program. Overall, participants were happy with the program and many of their goals were met.
- The majority of respondents (83%) reported that having a computer and Internet at home made a difference in their employment situation.
- Over 80% of respondents reported that the program helped them with their financial goals.
- All of the program participants plan to maintain Internet service at home within their own family budget; however they chose to switch to a higher speed service. This is a major success of the pilot, given that none of the participants had Internet at home at the beginning of the program.
- Comfort level with a variety of computer and Internet skills either stayed the same at “Very comfortable” or improved for each skill area.
How did having computer training and access at home impact your employment situation?
• Helped me get the job I start on Monday
• Got me a job I really needed
• Before taking the classes, I had to have my 8 year old help me. I don’t have to depend on him now.
• I’m starting my own business – it helps with the finances
• Improved my knowledge base for my job
• The training showed me where to go for jobs online and how to do applications
• Provided more options on where to find work, and made it much easier to contact employers.
• I learned computer skills for employment and got help with the Social Security website
• I learned about how computers work, and the options so I can address an issue myself
• I’m starting to get used to using my phone now too
In November 2013, Unisys Corporation donated $6,400 to PCs for People to provide computers with Internet access to 40 Minneapolis households as an expansion of the Digital Equity Program. However, the need is much greater especially considering the ever increasing digital requirements placed on getting good jobs, and that the 2013 Community Technology Survey shows that 40% of unemployed residents looking for work do not have a computer with Internet at home. Digital Equity is a relatively low cost/high impact solution.
The City's partnership with the CTEP AmeriCorps program allows us to continue to provide digital literacy training and more personalized technology support for the program expansion. The team is partnering with Build Wealth Minnesota, Pillsbury United Communities - Waite House, and Little Earth United Tribes to customize the program's framework and digital literacy training to meet the goals and interests for the Minneapolis residents participating in each of these community programs.
Last updated Feb. 12, 2014