When you hear the phrase “get a job,” do you ever stop to think that in order to do so you need to have digital literacy skills? From email, to updating your resume, to conducting a job search — it all requires computer proficiency that many people do not have.
But this predicament doesn’t just apply to finding work. Looking for an apartment? Want to connect with relatives who live far away? Need to communicate with your health care provider? More and more essential life interactions are taking place online. Technology has become integral to nearly everything that we do.
The fact is, it’s hard to get ahead in this world without the Internet. Not having a computer and Internet service at home, plus the know-how to use it, keeps people in poverty. At CTN, we believe that one way to disrupt this cycle of poverty is to provide everyone access to computers and teach the skills necessary to operate them.
Unfortunately, in the tech-booming Bay Area, an estimated 100,000 San Francisco residents, and even more across the entire Bay Area, do not have access to the Internet or the skills and know-how to use it.
The Bay Area has become an uneven playing field when it comes to technology. An increasing number of tech-focused companies have moved in, bringing with them highly skilled tech workers. But with that influx comes a growing digital divide, meaning the gap between those with and without Internet access and skills.
Fortunately for residents of Oakland, there’s an option for them to get help — their local library and the Ready, Set, Connect! program (RSC). Going into its fifth session, RSC is a youth leadership and community development program that places 20 young people, ages 16 – 24, throughout the city to assist library patrons with their technology questions. They also get professional development from corporate mentors and training on social media, web design, graphic design, and more.
CTN is a relatively small organization, but we pack a big punch, affecting more than 10,000 individuals each year. Like many nonprofits, CTN faces the familiar challenge of operating with a limited budget and doing a lot with a little. Luckily, we have great partners like Twitter, who are helping to make more of this work happen. Twitter recently gave CTN a matching grant of $30,000.
Here’s how you can help: For every dollar you donate, Twitter will generously match one dollar, up to $30,000. If you believe that access to the Internet is a human right and that those without digital skills are at a social and economic disadvantage, I encourage you to give to CTN today so your donation is doubled.